Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
RSL nabs playoff spot with victory over Portland Timbers
MLS » Real breaks through on scoring, keeps Portland winless on the road.


< Previous Page


Sandy • Ahhhh … the drought is over.

Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales scored their first goals in three months in place of injured leading scorer Alvaro Saborio, and Real Salt Lake broke out of a scoring slump with a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night that kept it in the thick of the Major League Soccer playoff race.

Photos
At a glance

Storylines RSL 2, Timbers 1

IN SHORT » Real Salt Lake wraps up a playoff berth with a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers.

KEY STAT » RSL is 13-1-0 this season when scoring first.

KEY MOMENT » Fabian Espindola blasts home a shot off a free kick in the 14th minute to give RSL the early lead.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"All in all," coach Jason Kreis Kreis said, "we got big-time plays from big-time players."

The victory clinched RSL’s fifth straight berth, and kept the Timbers winless on the road at 0-11-4 this season.

With 49 points from a 15-11-4 record, RSL wound up tied with the L.A. Galaxy for second place in the MLS Western Conference. They are in position to avoid the new wild-card game in the playoffs.

"I don’t think we can be comfortable right now," defender Nat Borchers said.

Especially because as satisfying as it felt for RSL to all but bury the Timbers with two stunning strikes off free kicks in the first 36 minutes — the team had scored just three goals in its previous six league games — the team didn’t exactly close out the game with authority.

The Timbers battled back in the second half, and forward Bright Dike put home a header in the 61st minute to halve the lead and put some anxiety into the sellout crowd of 20,524 fans.

Ultimately, though, they could not find another goal.

They had two great chances, but RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando leaped high to punch away a dangerous free kick in the 82nd minute, and Dike put an open shot off the crossbar in the 86th.


story continues below
story continues below

Meanwhile, RSL couldn’t convert on any of the terrific opportunities it created, including three in a seven-minute span in which Espindola and forward Paulo Jr. were in on goal alone but couldn’t finish against goalkeeper Joseph Bendik and a team that was playing without injured leading scorer Kris Boyd and is 7-15-8, all but certain to miss the playoffs.

"We could have scored five, six goals tonight," Rimando said. "We have to put our opportunities away, especially at home, especially against teams that are fighting for their jobs. It’s only going to get harder."

Just the same, it felt a little like a breakout performance for a team that really has been scrapping lately.

Saborio missed the game with a shoulder injury, too, leading Morales to joke that "we were a little scared" to play without him, because so few others have scored recently. Espindola had not scored since June 16 and Morales had not struck since June 23, and Saborio had scored 10 of the team’s last 17 goals in all competitions.

"We just got more numbers forward," Kreis said. "We created a lot of very, very good chances, through just passing and moving and being dynamic in the attacking third of the field. … Of course, I wish we had scored a few more, and made it more comfortable for ourselves. But we didn’t. Again.

"But we’re moving in the right direction."

mcl@sltrib.com

Twitter: @MCLTribune



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.