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MLS Cup Playoffs: Timbers upset top-seeded Rapids

MLS Cup Playoffs: Timbers upset top-seeded Rapids
Portland Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala's 90th-minute strike was enough to lead his team over the Colorado Rapids on Thursday and into the Western Conference final. Photo by Jared Martinez, Matt Stith, Devin L'Amoreaux/MLS

Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Defender Larrys Mabiala cleaned up a loose ball in the box with a shot into the upper corner for a 90th-minute score, leading the Portland Timbers to an upset of the top-seeded Colorado Rapids in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Mabiala's late winner was the only score in the 1-0 Western Conference semifinal triumph Thursday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.

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The Timbers advanced to the Western Conference final and are one win from a title game appearance. They'll meet Sporting Kansas City or Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference final.

"It felt like the first 45 minutes we tried to not concede a goal," Mabiala told reporters. "We thought if we went into halftime 0-0, we would have a lot of chances in the second half.

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"I'm really happy and proud and ready for the next game."

Timbers midfielder Yimmi Chara delivered a corner kick from the right flag to spark the game's lone scoring sequence. The feed bounced off a defender and went high above the box. The ball then fell in toward the near post.

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A Rapids defender blocked an initial shot by Felipe Mora. The ball then floated in the air before Mabiala stuck out his foot and smacked a follow-up shot toward the far post. The point-blank-range kick sent the ball into the upper-left corner of the net, past Rapids goalie William Yarbrough.

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The Timbers will host Real Salt Lake next weekend, if Real Salt Lake beats Sporting Kansas City. Sporting Kansas City will host the Timbers next weekend if they win the other Western Conference semifinal match.

Sporting Kansas City hosts Real Salt Lake at 3 p.m. EST Sunday at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan. The Western Conference semifinal airs on ABC.

The Philadelphia Union host Nashville SC in an Eastern Conference semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN. The New England Revolution host NYCFC in the other Eastern Conference semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on FS1.

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