- Top-seeded Colorado Rapids host fourth-seeded Portland Timbers in Western Semifinal on Thanksgiving
- Rapids lost just one game at home all season, and went unbeaten against Portland over two games
- Read on for Rapids vs Timbers odds, a full preview, and the best bet for Thursday’s MLS playoff meeting
For the first time in their history, the Colorado Rapids ended the regular season as the best team in the West. The team lost just once at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park all season – in the home opener against expansion team Austin FC of all teams – but then won nine of their next 16 games there to earn a first-round bye. Colorado is listed as -150 favorites in the Rapids vs Timbers odds.
Fresh off eliminating Minnesota United in the opening round, Portland will be looking to return to MLS Cup for the third time in franchise history and will be hardly be overawed by the occasion as MLS holds its first-ever Thanksgiving Day match at 4:30 PM EST.
Rapids vs Timbers Odds
|Colorado Rapids vs Portland Timbers||COL -1.5 (+200) | POR +1.5 (-235)||COL -150 | POR +400 | DRAW +330||Ov 2.5 (-165) | Un 2.5 (+130)|
Odds as of November 25th at DraftKings
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Best In West
Considering powerhouse teams such as Sporting Kansas City and the Seattle Sounders flirted with top spot in the West all season long, finishing first is no small accomplishment for the Rapids, a team with the league’s smallest payroll. Taking an alternative approach to many MLS clubs, Colorado has but one designated player – midfielder Younes Namli – and he has been out injured since June.
— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) November 24, 2021
And the Rapids took until Decision Day to leapfrog the two front-runners in the West, using a 5-2 rout of Los Angeles FC to claim the first seed.
If there’s one area of the game in which Robin Fraser’s Rapids excel, it’s at set-pieces. Colorado finished tied for first in MLS with 14 goals scored from free kicks or corners, alongside New York City FC, Philadelphia and Seattle, and conceded just four from set plays. Conversely, Portland conceded 13 goals in such a manner.
And it’s by no means a flash in the pan either. Since 2019, Colorado has scored 42 goals from training ground-scripted plays, 11 more than second-place Seattle, and has been happy to share the wealth. In all, 10 players have got in on the act this season, converting from corners or free kicks.
The Fraser Effect
A Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year finalist, Fraser has had a remarkable impact on the Colorado soccer scene, elevating the Rapids to their best regular season in franchise history. In just his second season at the helm, the team put up a club-record 61 points, along with a record 13 clean sheets.
— Burgundy Wave (@Burgundywave) November 24, 2021
Since taking over at the end of August 2019, Fraser has helped the Rapids earn 1.76 points per game, the second-highest average in MLS over that time, which is all the more remarkable when you consider he has done it during a pandemic for the most part.
Rocky Mountain Fortress
If there’s one thing that should give Fraser’s team confidence heading into the playoffs, it’s the fact that it will play all its game until at least the final on Dec. 11 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Colorado lost just once at home all season, and finished with a plus-17 goal differential at home as well, with the 14 goals conceded a Western Conference low to boot.
— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) November 22, 2021
However, the Colorado franchise is just 8-7-3 all-time in home MLS Cup playoffs, but the team has won four of its last six home playoff games, going all the way back to the 2010 MLS Cup championship.
Portland’s 3-1 win over Minnesota in the opening round of the playoffs should have given the team a lot of confidence. After being knocked out of the opening round of the 2019 and 2020 playoffs, Portland registered its first postseason victory since 2018, when it went all the way to the final before losing to Atlanta. In total, the team has gone 5-4-2 on the road in MLS playoff games.
On top of that, the Timbers are rolling, having won four in a row since their 2-0 loss at Colorado on October 23rd.
Colorado Rapids vs Portland Timbers 2021 Stats
|17-7-10||2021 MLS Record||17-13-4|
|38.7||Expected Goals Against||50.3|
|WWLWD||Form This Season||WWWWL|
A Playoff First
Portland and Colorado have never previously met in the MLS postseason, but the teams are very familiar with each other. Thursday’s match will be the 26th all-time meeting between the clubs, with Portland leading the head-to-head with a 10-9-6 record.
However, the Timbers are just 2-7-4 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and haven’t won there since 2018, and Colorado will be eager to lean on the home-field advantage that the altitude gives it.
Colorado will also have to be wary of Diego Valeri though. The Portland midfielder has scored eight goals and three assists in 15 career games against the Rapids, and will likely have to be neutralized, even in his new role as a super sub, for Colorado to advance.
Best bet: Draw (+330)