Jaroslaw Niezgoda scores twice as Timbers blank Rapids

Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored two goals and Sebastian Blanco tallied on a penalty kick to help the Portland Timbers post a 3-0 victory over the visiting Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.The victory was just the second in the past 11 matches (2-5-4) for the Timbers, who lost in the MLS Cup last season.Goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic made four saves while registering his fourth shutout of the season for Portland (4-6-7, 19 points).The Rapids (5-7-4, 19 points) are winless on the road (0-6-2) this season.Colorado goalkeeper William Yarbrough departed late in the first half with an apparent concussion after he was called for a hard foul in the box. Abraham Rodriguez made his MLS debut in his place and allowed all three goals.The penalty kick was awarded to the Timbers after Yarbrough took down Santiago Moreno at the top of the box in the second minute of first-half stoppage time.Yarbrough was being attended to on the field as the officials reviewed the play to confirm that both the ball and Yarbrough were inside the box when contact was made.Rodriguez entered the contest for his MLS debut but first he walked toward Blanco and had something to say before an official directed him toward the net.Blanco stood at the spot six minutes after the foul was called and easily slammed a right-footed shot past Rodriguez for his third goal of the campaign.Portland padded its lead in the second half as Niezgoda scored twice in an eight-minute span early in the half.The first goal was set up by a long downfield pass from Bill Tuiloma. Niezgoda slowed the ball with his chest and then sent a right-footed shot past Rodriguez.In the 61st minute, Rodriguez made a save on a close-range left-footed shot by Niezgoda but the Timbers kept possession of the ball.One minute later, Eryk Williamson cruised in unmarked and delivered a cross that Niezgoda got his left foot on and poked past Rodriguez for his fifth goal of the season to make it 3-0.Tuiloma nearly scored in the 73rd minute but his right-footed free kick caromed off the bottom of the right goalpost.Yarbrough had two saves before exiting. Rodriguez also made two.Both teams took 19 shots. Portland placed seven on target to Colorado's five.--Field Level Media