MLS Conference Semi-Finals: Colorado Rapids vs Portland Timbers Date, Time and Predictions
When: Thursday, November 25th at 4:30 PM EST
The second round of the MLS playoffs kicks off tomorrow with a special Thanksgiving matchup between the #1 seed Colorado Rapids and the #4 seed Portland Timbers. The Rapids come into this matchup off of their first-round bye (earned by finishing atop the Western Conference) while the Timbers will try to keep their momentum rolling off of their 3-1 victory over Minnesota United in the first round last Sunday. These two teams faced off twice in the regular season, the first resulting in a 2-2 draw and the second ending in a 2-0 Rapids victory.
Despite what the number to the left of their names implies, this is actually a nightmare playoff matchup for the Rapids. The Rapids are the significantly younger team with much less experience, while the Portland Timbers have reached the MLS Playoffs in each of the last five years. In the last matchup between the two (where the Rapids won 2-0) the Timbers were missing their most important offensive weapon Sebastian Blanco, who most recently secured two of the three goals in Portland’s first-round matchup.
When you look at this match on paper, it plays out to be an absolute barn-burner. The Timbers offense was top-three in goals scored this season, while the Rapids have a top-five defense in terms of goals allowed. The Rapids offense creates way more chances on goal than the Timbers, but also holds one of the worst accurate shooting percentages in the entire MLS. With the Timbers defense prone to allowing shots on net, it’ll be up to the young Rapids squad to maintain composure and find some consistency in their shots.
This is a classic sports tale as old as time--a young, flashy team takes on the grizzled veteran-riddled side in a one-game elimination playoff. I usually don’t tend to let experience get in the way of my decisions, but it’s hard to ignore the playoff threat that the Timber have been in recent years. Add on the fact that while the Rapids offense is technical yet also inconsistent, I can see Portland really giving them a hard time.
Portland to win (+375)
Timbers to win the 1st Half (+360)
Over 3.5 Goals (+125)
Timbers Over .5 Goals in the First Half (+135)
Rapids Under .5 Goals in the Second Half (+185)