PORTLAND, Ore. — Beat the Whitecaps next Sunday in Vancouver, and the Portland Timbers are in the playoffs.
The Timbers set up the win-and-in scenario for the regular-season finale with a 1-0 victory Sunday over the Colorado Rapids. Fanendo Adi scored on a penalty kick in the 35th minute.
“The reality is, it comes down to one game for us now to extend our season,” Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury said. “It’s not the sixth game of the season on the road where it’s hard to see the end line. It’s do or die. “
It was the fifth straight win at home for the defending MLS Cup champions and pulled them pulled even in points with Sporting Kansas City for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Timbers were a point back of fifth-place Seattle.
Colorado (15-6-12) dropped to second in the conference standings behind Dallas while vying for the Supporters’ Shield for the team with the best regular-season record.
The Timbers (12-13-8) have been winless on the road this season, which has hurt their playoff chances. But the result Sunday keeps them in the playoff race heading into the final game of the regular season next Sunday against the Whitecaps in Vancouver.
“I don’t think anybody’s worried about the road, even though, yeah, maybe we should be,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. “But I think in some ways the group still has a lot of confidence going on the road. It’s more frustration, like, ‘how did we not win on the road?’ type of thing.”
The Timbers have lost starters Liam Ridgewell and Diego Chara for the match against the Whitecaps because of yellow card accumulation.
The Rapids wrap up the regular season at home next Sunday against the Houston Dynamo.
“The mentality has to be right and we’re at home, in front of the home crowd, after a week of rest,” Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni said about the final with the Shield on the line. “Just looking forward to a really spirited, really positive, really electric performance in that last game to hopefully put us in a position to win the Shield.”
Adi’s penalty kick was the result of a foul in the box on Vytautas Andriuskevicius. Three minutes later, Andriuskevicius drew another penalty but Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard stopped the shot and Adi missed a chance on the rebound.
Jewsbury, who is retiring following the season, was captain for his 156th game with the Timbers, tied for fourth on the team’s career list. He was honored before his final home game, and the sellout crowd at Providence Park chanted “Captain Jack!”
“I want to thank each and every one of you for what you bring to this. Look at this atmosphere we get to play in front of every single game. It’s amazing,” he told the fans.
After the game he went up in the stands to the Timbers Army supporters’ group to shake hands and sign autographs.
Colorado was coming off a 2-1 victory over San Jose on Thursday night, snapping a 14-game winless streak over the Earthquakes. Kevin Doyle scored both goals in the Rapids’ third straight victory.
The Timbers fell 1-0 to the Rapids on Oct. 1 in Colorado.