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RSL notebook: Stars in starting lineup in Portland after national team duty

Published October 19, 2013 9:59 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Portland, Ore. • Kyle Beckerman was in the center of the field in Panama City on Tuesday night as the United States Men's National Team stunned the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying realm with a 3-2 come-from-behind win.

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando was there on the bench.

Forward Alvaro Saborio headed home the winning goal against Mexico in a 2-1 Costa Rica victory in San Jose, Costa Rica.

All three are in the starting lineup against Portland four days later in this the most important match of the 2013 season.

Despire only tying the Timbers at JELD-WEN Field, they earned their sixth straight MLS Cup Playoff berth.

"We have to bring it and everybody has to be on," Rimando said Friday. "We have to play as a team, because if we don't, they're a good enough team that will make us pay."

Seattle Sounders in a free fall

A few weeks ago, the Seattle Sounders were in the driver's seat for the Western Conference crown and a prime shot at the Supporter's Shield with so many matches in hand over RSL, Portland and the L.A. Galaxy.

Since its 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 29, though, Seattle lost four consecutive matches — the first four-game losing streak in franchise history — leaving the door open for clubs like RSL.

"We've done a lot of good to get to where we're at and so we think we'd be in [the race], but we definitely still have to take care of some business," Beckerman said.

Lovel Palmer in, Tony Beltran out

Fullback Lovel Palmer got the start at the right back position Saturday in Portland ahead of usual first-teamer Tony Beltran. The 29-year-old Jamaican international has been a stabilizing presence for RSL coach Jason Kreis during injuries and absences due to respective national team duties.

With Javier Morales out with yellow card accumulation, Kreis gave the nod to midfielder Yordany Alvarez in his diamond formation along with Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy and Luis Gil.

ckamrani@sltrib.com

Twitter: @chriskamrani