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Nicholson salvages point for Rapids at Timbers

Sam Nicholson's impressive equalizer helped Colorado draw at Portland, but the Rapids gifted the Timbers two goals via an own goal and a penalty.
Major League Soccer: Tommy Smith own goal (27') Portland Timbers 1-0 Colorado Rapids

Sam Nicholson scored from outside of the penalty area in the 76th minute and the visiting Colorado Rapids were able to salvage a 2-2 tie with the Portland Timbers on Saturday night.

Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese was on the bench for his club after his father Carlo passed away earlier Saturday in Italy.

Savarese went back to Italy to visit his father this week, missing his team's U.S. Open Cup victory over Los Angeles FC on Wednesday, but returned to Portland on Friday.

The Rapids (5-10-5, 20 points) continue to recover from a slow start, earning a point in eight of their last nine games.

The Timbers (7-8-3, 24 points) entered having won seven of their last eight games across all competitions and three of their last four in MLS play.

Nicholson took a long pass from Danny Wilson to the right of the penalty area, worked his way to the top of the box and ripped a left-footed shot past flatfooted Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark for his first of the season.

The Timbers had been closing in on a victory, despite playing one man short, after Diego Valeri scored on a penalty kick in the 63rd minute for a 2-1 lead. It was Valeri's fifth goal of the season.

The Timbers were reduced to 10 men in the 55th minute on a serious foul from defender Julio Cascante, who upended Kei Kamara from behind at midfield.

The situation seemed less dire eight minutes later when an entry pass in front of the Rapids goal to Jeremy Ebobisse was knocked down by the outstretched arm of the Rapids' Lalas Abubakar in the penalty area. Valeri struck the penalty to the left side of goal.

Clark was poised to be the hero for the Timbers before the Rapids' late goal. He not only made three diving saves in the closing minutes of the first half, two on shots by Kamara, he also saved a shot in the 72nd minute as he collided with the Rapids' Nicolas Mezquida. Clark, who finished with six saves, was checked for a concussion but remained in the game.

The teams exchanged goals in a one-minute span of the first half. The Timbers got an own goal in the 27th minute when Rapids defender Tommy Smith tried to clear a Portland corner kick but headed the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard and into his own net.

Smith was all smiles in the 28th minute, when the Rapids' Jonathan Lewis tied the score 1-1 on his first goal of the season.

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