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Ebobisse and Valeri score in 2-0 Timbers win over Rapids
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By ANNE M. PETERSON
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Jeremy Ebobisse scored in just his second game of the season and Diego Valeri added a goal to give the Portland Timbers a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.
The Timbers went into the game hanging on to the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and needing the win with just seven games left. The victory moved them up a spot into fifth, ahead of the Seattle Sounders.
Portland (12-7-8) is unbeaten in three straight games after a four-match losing streak that threatened their playoff hopes.
"I thought the team played very well today, defensively strong, offensively creating a lot of chances. We moved the ball very well, and I thought it was a very good performance," Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. "You know, credit to the guys; because I thought this was one of the best games we've played so far. It was very, very good."
It was the third straight loss for the Rapids (6-15-6). Colorado is in second-to-last place in the West, just above San Jose.
"Obviously I'm gutted for the players. There was a lot that was good tonight. It's tough because I thought they deserved a little bit more out of the game," Rapids coach Anthony Hudson said. "I can't ask any more from the players. They've given everything. They're trying to do things the right way.
Both teams were missing players because of the international break. The Rapids were without Kellyn Acosta, who is with the U.S. men's national team for a pair of friendlies. Brazil defeated the United States 2-0 Friday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The U.S. team plays Mexico on Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee.
Colorado was also missing Niki Jackson and Bismark Boateng, who were sent off in Colorado's 6-0 loss to Real Salt Lake two weeks ago.
Cole Bassett, 17, became the youngest player to make his debut with Colorado when he came in as a substitute in the 71st minute.
Portland had three players on international duty: Andres Flores (El Salvador), David Guzman (Costa Rica) and Alvas Powell (Jamaica).
The Timbers played Steve Clark in goal while Jeff Attinella recovers from a thigh injury.
Ebobisse first appeared to score on a cross from Valeri in the 12th minute, but it was called offside. Valeri's header in the 30th minute was also ruled offside.
Ebobisse, who is in his second year in the league out of Duke, scored before the half was over off a cross from Sebastian Blanco in the 45th minute.
"That's the nature of the job really, there's a lot of guys that aren't playing. We have to do our part in training, and after training, to make sure we're ready, because it's a long season and a lot of injuries, travels and absences are going to happen," Ebobisse said.
The Timbers got lucky in the 61st minute when a Colorado penalty kick was waived off after a video review. Clark tipped Giles Barnes' shot from a distance over the net in the 63rd minute.
Valeri, the reigning league MVP, scored his 10th goal of the season in the 65th minute. With the goal and 10 assist this season, Valeri is just the third MLS player to have four career seasons with double-digit goals and assists, joining Preki and Jaime Moreno.
Portland was coming off a draw on the road with the New England Revolution.
Updated September 9, 2018