COMMERCE, Colo. (AP) – The Colorado Rapids fought back from two successive defeats by securing a 3-0 win against Portland Timbers.
''We coming in needing a win after playing two games that left us feeling badly,'' Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said. ''I knew the boys would play better, be more patient and get some scoring chances.''
The Rapids did just that.
Jaime Castrillon and Conor Casey scored four minutes apart in the first half and the Colorado Rapids defeated the Portland Timbers 3-0 Saturday.
It was Casey's first goal of the year. Colorado (7-8-1) snapped a two-game losing streak with the win.
Jamie Smith scored in the 89th minute to cap the scoring.
''I don't think we had any choice but to play well,'' Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens said. ''We have to start making our climb now and putting up zeros up on the board for opponents and we should be scoring a lot.''
Pickens earned his fifth shutout of the season. Pickens is the franchise leader with 27 shutouts and has 37 in his career.
The loss did not sit well with Portland coach John Spencer, a former Rapids standout and a member of the franchise's Gallery of Honor.
''When we go on the road we wonder, can we do this, can we do that,'' Spencer said. ''We never put those devils to bed.''
Spencer held a lengthy closed door meeting after the loss.
Portland (4-7-4) had few chances against Pickens in falling to 0-5-2 on the road this year. The Timbers were shut out for the sixth time this year.
The second-year team has lost all three meetings to Colorado. The Timbers have scored only once in those three games.
Portland was without midfielder Kalif Alhassan, who suffered a strained left hamstring in the Timbers' game against Seattle on June 24.
Colorado missed two scoring chances in the first 15 minutes. Castrillon's header from close range was swatted away by Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins and Casey sent a header over the crossbar.
Castrillon didn't miss the next time he saw the ball in the scoring zone. He scored his fifth goal of the season after receiving Hunter Freeman's pass in the 18th minute.
Four minutes later the Rapids struck again. Brian Mullan lobbed a ball over a Portland defender onto Casey's head where he could handle and smoothly direct a header into the net in the 22nd minute to make it 2-0.
''If you don't deny players like Conor Casey and Omar Cummings the box, they are going to punish you,'' Spencer said. ''You can't give guys that much space.''
The Timbers had two chances to get back into the game. Kris Boyd deflected a cross from Jack Jewsbury just wide of the right post in the 32nd minute.
Pickens went to his left to block Boyd's free kick in the 37th minute.