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OCT. 23 MLS SOCCER: Rapids score once in each half and Portland struggles to generate scoring chances in shutout loss.

Scoring: Dominique Badji headed home a cross delivered by Braian Galván

with seconds remaining in the first half (1-0 Rapids, 45+2).

Diego Rubio put home a deflected clearing attempt by Portland's Larrys Mabiala on another whipped in cross from Galvan (2-0 Rapids, 63rd minute).

What it means: Losers of three in a row, Portland 14-13-4 (46 points), is clinging to fourth in West with three matches left. The Timbers are two points clear of seventh place and four up on eighth-place Real Salt Lake. The top seven teams make the playoffs. Colorado, 15-6-10, 55 points, third in West, has clinched a playoff spot.

Storyline: Playing at altitude against one of the better teams in MLS on short rest was a tough ask for Portland. Without Sebastian Blanco, rested with a tight left thigh, Portland generated a couple of decent scoring chances — shots from Felipe Mora late in the first half and Diego Valeri early in the second that Colorado keeper William Yarbrough handled — but did not find the energy to consistently bother the Rapids. As a result, the Timbers were shut out for the first time since June 26.

With three matches left, including another quick turnaround for a Wednesday home match against San Jose, the Timbers need to rediscover their mojo.

Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said he feels better about Saturday's performance than the previous losses to the Galaxy and Whitecaps.

"This game became a little more complicated (because of those losses)," Savarese said. "I come away from this game a lot more optimistic than last game and I thought the guys did a good job to fight through and try to get a win. Unfortunately, there were some moments that could have been better. We just have to make sure that we stay focused on our path. Its's all in our control to manage what is going to come."

The good news? Everyone chasing them settled for draws on Saturday. More good news? Two of their three remaining matches are at home against teams out of playoff contention (San Jose and Austin).

Up next: San Jose at Portland, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27 (FOX 12 Plus).


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