Real Salt Lake scoreless again in draw with Portland

RSL has been shut out in its last four league matches.

(Rick Bowmer | AP) Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad (15) competes against Portland Timbers' Santiago Moreno (30) and Franck Boli (7) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Sandy, Utah.

Pablo Mastroeni is sure a breakthrough is coming.

Score one, the Real Salt Lake coach says, and others will follow.

The one goal, however, has proved elusive.

“The longer you go without hitting the back of the net, it feels a bit ominous,” Mastroeni said. “But I’ve been in this game for quite some time and when you hit it once it seems to come in bunches.”

RSL has now gone four league games without a goal and has been held scoreless in seven of 12 matches so far this season, after playing the Portland Timbers to a scoreless draw Wednesday night.

“It was some of the same issues that we’re dealing with, which is finding the back of the net,” Mastroeni said. “To get off the schneid you’ve got to find different ways to do it.”

Real took 17 shots — four on goal — against the Timbers, a team they’d beaten 4-3 in U.S. Open Cup play a week earlier in Portland. On Wednesday at America First Field, the Timbers were more content to sit back and defend.

“When you’re having a hard time scoring goals when the game is open, it’s going to be extremely difficult when the game is compact in that final third,” Mastroeni said. “They did a good job of putting numbers behind the ball.”

Mastroeni put some of the blame on squad rotation as his team played its fourth of eight matches in May, but also on a lack of execution.

“We’ll look back at the opportunities we did have and the ones we should have had if we’d made better decisions in those moments,” he said. “… We tried something different today, putting [Jefferson Savarino] underneath, but we didn’t find him in dangerous enough situations closer to the goal.”

RSL next plays Saturday when they travel to Colorado to take on the Rapids.