Timbers-Rapids Preview

The Associated Press

The Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers are still without a win.

The Rapids' problems are due in large part to injuries and suspensions, though they could have Edson Buddle back for their next game.

Colorado will again attempt to overcome a slew of absences when it tries to continue its success against the Timbers on Saturday night.

The Rapids (0-3-1) and Timbers (0-1-2) are struggling through the early part of the season, but Colorado's fortunes have become dire. The team is dealing with injuries to goalkeeper Matt Pickens, midfielders Pablo Mastroeni, Martin Rivero and Jaime Castrillon and defenders Anthony Wallace and Diego Calderon.

In addition, Drew Moor is suspended two games for a red card issued for elbowing an opponent in the face during a 1-0 defeat at Los Angeles last weekend.

The team learned this week that Calderon will be out four to five months after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee.

"It's difficult, but my approach with it is we have to make things happen," coach Oscar Pareja told the league's official website. "That's why we have the rest of the (roster).

"I spend more time thinking about how can we solve this. (But) it is very difficult since it's all happening at the same time."

Getting Buddle back may prove timely. The forward was acquired in a trade with the Galaxy during the offseason, but knee and groin injuries have kept him out. He's hoping to make his debut this weekend in an effort to begin putting a rough 2012 behind him, as he scored three goals in 19 games - 10 starts - last season.

"I'm wanting to be ready for this weekend," Buddle told the Rapids' official website. "I'm pushing myself each and every day to be as fit as possible. I can't wait to be out there."

His teammates likely feel the same way since Colorado is 4-0-1 in five meetings with Portland, winning all three at home with a 9-1 scoring edge.

This will be the Timbers' only visit to Colorado this season, and they opened their road schedule with a 1-all draw against Seattle on March 16. Rodney Wallace salvaged a point by scoring one minute into stoppage time.

Portland has yet to hold a lead this season under first-year coach Caleb Porter.

"Obviously, we've been playing from behind way more than we've wanted to," defender Michael Harrington said. "It's important that we get that first goal. Colorado is a team that's so far struggled a little bit, so we kind of want to go there and jump on them right away, and show them that we're there to take three points.

"We've been playing well, so we just want to continue with that."

Production from Darlington Nagby would certainly help. The midfielder opened the season with a goal in a 3-all tie with New York on March 3. However, he's failed to find the net in two games since, putting one of his six shots on goal.

Nagby had six goals last season but has come up empty in four games with Colorado.

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