PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Sam Nicholson entered the game in the 67th minute and quickly made an impact.
Nicholson scored the tying goal nine minutes after subbing in to help the Rapids play to a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers on Saturday night.
The midfielder’s first goal of the season was a left-footed strike from the top of the box that left Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark flat-footed. Clark, who finished with six saves, said he had an obstructed view of the goal.
“Incredible,” Rapids midfielder Jonathan Lewis said. “He was very good off the bench today. That goal was a wonder goal.”
It came after Portland (7-3-8) took a one-goal lead in the 63rd when Diego Valeri made a penalty kick, which was the result of a Colorado hand ball.
The first goal of the back-and-forth match came in the 27th minute when Rapids defender Tommy Smith scored an own goal. His header intended to clear Valeri’s corner kick went past Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard into the back of the net.
During the celebration, Timbers players rushed over and crowded around coach Gio Saverese, whose father, Carlo Savarese, died Saturday morning. They also wore matching black arm bands to honor Savarese’s late father.
“I didn’t expect it, to be honest,” said Savarese, who flew to and from Italy during the week to be with his father. “It was for me a little bit emotional.
“It was a weird night. But so many great things. The fans, I cannot say more. I thank them for everything they were giving me, how they were supporting me. It was incredible.”
But the moment, and the celebration didn’t last long.
One minute later, Lewis settled a cross deflected out by the Timbers defense in the center of the box and scored with a right-footed line drive.
“I knew I had time so I just tried to stay calm,” Lewis said.
It was Lewis’ first start since returning from playing with the U.S. men’s national team during the Gold Cup. The 22-year-old had scored twice in three starts before his national team call-up.
Howard kept it tied with a diving one-handed effort on a shot by Sebastian Blanco two minutes later. The Rapids (5-5-10) turned a counter-attack into a 2-on-1 opportunity in the 45th, but Portland goalkeeper Clark made back-to-back saves, the second a one-handed dive blocking Kei Kamara’s header.
Lewis said without Clark’s performance, the Rapids would have won.
“We had chance after chance after chance and he made not easy saves. I mean, they were brilliant saves,” Lewis said. “Kudos to him, he got his team a point today.”
Clark, who made his seventh start of the season, said his performance was long in the making.
“I often think of goalkeeping in my game as you’re watering the soil, planting the seeds and it grows out of that,” Clark said. “I’ve been working for saves like that a long time and I put good fuel into my game, so there’s going to be more to come.”
Portland played much of the second half a man down after center back Julio Cascante was given a straight red card in the 56th minute for a slide tackle from behind on Kamara.
Portland sits in 10th in the Western Conference, Colorado 11th. Four points separate the teams, which also played to a 3-3 draw on March 2 to open MLS regular season in Colorado.