Larrys Mabiala scored a dramatic goal in the 90th minute as the visiting Portland Timbers earned a 1-0 victory over the top-seeded Colorado Rapids on Thursday to advance to the Western Conference final.
Mabiala scored for the second straight postseason game during a scramble following a corner kick.
Felipe Mora had his right-footed shot from close range blocked, however the ball caromed off a defender to Mabiala. Mabiala corralled the ball and lifted a right-footed shot from the center of the box just over Colorado goalkeeper William Yarbrough.
The fourth-seeded Timbers advanced to the conference final for the first time since winning the 2015 MLS Cup. Portland will face Sporting Kansas City or Real Salt Lake next weekend and will get the home game if RSL advances.
Mabiala scored on a day when Sebastian Blanco exited early in the second half due to an apparent leg injury. Four minutes after Mabiala’s clutch tally, Portland’s Darion Asprilla was shown the red card giving him an automatic suspension for the next round and forcing the Timbers to play the final three minutes with 10 players.
Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark made all three of his saves in the first half. Portland was outshot 9-2 in the first half but wound up with a 12-10 advantage in shots.
In the 14th minute, Clark made a diving save on Dominique Badjii. He made another diving save when he stopped Cole Bassett‘s left-footed attempt in the 28th minute.
Colorado was unable to advance on a day when it held possession for 55.1 percent of the match. The setback was its second at home this season.
Yarbrough made three saves but was slightly out of position when Portland scored.
Before Portland scored the winning goal, it had four chances in the 65th minute turned away by Colorado’s defense.
Jaroslaw Niezgoda started it when his header was blocked before Claudio Bravo had a long shot blocked. Yimmi Chara‘s right-footed shot sailed to the left and Josecarlos Van Rankin’s attempt from a sharp angle was blocked.
Portland missed another chance in the 84th minute when it got a fast break only to see Chara’s left-footed shot from six yards out sailed well to the left. Chara missed another chance four minutes later when Yarbrough used his right hand to push the shot away.