SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (14-8-6, 48 points, West #1) steamrolled past the 10-man Portland Timbers (9-5-12, 39 points, West #4) on Saturday night, topping the Cascadia club 4-2 in front of a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
MF Luis Gil, FW Joao Plata, MF Javier Morales and FW Alvaro Saborio scored for Real Salt Lake, which improved to 2-0-1 in three August matches against Portland with the win. The victory extends the Claret-and-Cobalt’s lead in the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference races, putting the Utah side seven points ahead of the Montreal Impact in the MLS table and eight points up on the LA Galaxy in the West.
Gil scored his second goal in as many games to give RSL the lead in the ninth minute. Captain Kyle Beckerman started the play, finding Plata at the top of the box. The diminutive forward played a fantastic flick to put Gil through in the right side of the box, where the U.S. Under-20 international took a touch and buried a 10-yard effort inside the far post.
Plata doubled RSL’s advantage in the 15th. Isolated with Portland DF Andrew Jean-Baptiste on the left side of the area, Plata collected a pass from MF Ned Grabavoy and immediately went to goal, sprinting past Jean-Baptiste before slamming a 12-yard left-footer off the far post and in.
MF Darlington Nagbe pulled one back for Portland in the 31st. The dynamic attacker collected a DF Michael Harrington pass in the middle of RSL’s third, taking a couple of touches to his right before finding the inside of the far post with a 25-yard effort.
The Timbers had to make a change immediately after Nagbe’s goal, with ace MF Diego Valeri leaving the match in the 32nd minute for DF Alvas Powell due to an adductor strain.
Things got heated in the final minutes of the first half, with RSL DF Carlos Salcedo, Jean-Baptiste and Plata earning yellow cards in the 40th and 44th minutes before Portland MF Ben Zemanski was shown a straight red for a high tackle on Grabavoy in stoppage time.
Morales scored a spectacular bicycle kick goal to put RSL up 3-1 in the 55th minute. Plata served a corner in from the left side, with the ball narrowly missing the head of leaping RSL DF Nat Borchers before falling to a wide open Morales at the top right corner of the six yard box. The Argentine maestro popped the ball up and scored on an audacious bicycle kick, hitting the ball off the far post and into the back of the net.
Saborio made it 4-1 in the 67th minute. Morales delivered a delicious free kick in from the right side and Saborio – who had his back to goal – ran onto it 10 yards out, powerfully flicking a header inside the far post from the right side of the box.
Portland scored a consolation goal in the 78th minute. Substitute FW Jose Adolfo Valencia collected a ball in the middle of RSL’s third, turning and rifling a shot on frame that RSL GK Nick Rimando couldn’t hold. Portland MF Sal Zizzo ran onto the rebound, easily slotting home with his first touch from eight yards out.
The Real Salt Lake Reserves will take on the Portland Timbers Reserves on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at America First Field. Admission to the match – which is open to the public – is free.
The Real Salt Lake first team will return to action in two weeks, taking on Seattle Sounders FC on Friday, Sept. 13 in a nationally televised match at CenturyLink Field.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 4-2 POR
- Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman (U.S.), GK Nick Rimando (U.S.), FW Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica) and DF Abdoulie Mansally (Gambia) will all depart RSL this weekend to join their national teams for World Cup Qualifying matches. None of the four players will miss any of RSL’s first-team matches while away. Beckerman, Rimando and Saborio will face each other when the U.S. takes on Costa Rica on the road next Friday, Sept. 6.
- RSL has now scored four goals in two straight league matches after tonight’s performance and last Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Columbus Crew. This stretch is the first time in club history that RSL has scored four or more goals in consecutive league matches.
- RSL MF Luis Gil’s ninth minute goal gave him five in the MLS regular season, making him the sixth RSL player to reach the five goal plateau this year. Gil joins Saborio (10), Morales (7), FW Robbie Findley (6), FW Olmes Garcia (5) and MF Ned Grabavoy (5) as members of RSL’s five-goal club.
- Saborio’s goal tonight gives him 10 goals in 13 MLS matches this year. The Costa Rican international is now tied for fourth in the MLS Golden Boot race, four goals behind second-place Vancouver FW Camilo Sanvezzo and Chicago FW Mike Magee and five behind league leader Montreal FW Marco Di Vaio.
- Tonight’s sold-out crowd of 20,252 marked RSL’s fifth sell-out of Rio Tinto Stadium in 14 regular season home games this year.
REAL SALT LAKE 4–2 PORTLAND TIMBERS
FRIDAY, AUG. 30, 2013
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 2 2 4
Portland Timbers 1 1 2
RSL – Luis Gil (Joao Plata, Kyle Beckerman) – 9’
RSL – Joao Plata (Ned Grabavoy) – 15’
POR – Darlington Nagbe (Michael Harrington) – 31’
RSL – Javier Morales (Joao Plata) – 55’
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Javier Morales) – 67’
POR – Sal Zizzo – 78’
RSL – Carlos Salcedo (Yellow; Foul) – 40’
POR – Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Yellow; Argument) – 44’
RSL – Joao Plata (Yellow; Argument) – 44’
POR – Ben Zemanski (Red; Foul) – 45+2’
RSL – Luis Gil (Yellow; Dissent) – 48’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (Yellow; Foul) – 58’
POR – Diego Chara (Yellow; Foul) – 65’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C); Luis Gil (Sebastian Velasquez, 72’), Ned Grabavoy; Javier Morales; Joao Plata (Robbie Findley, 61’), Alvaro Saborio
Substitutes not used: Lalo Fernandez (GK), Abdoulie Mansally, Brandon McDonald, Cole Grossman, Devon Sandoval
Portland Timbers (3-4-3): Donovan Ricketts (GK); Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Rauwshan McKenzie, Michael Harrington; Kalif Alhassan, Ben Zemanski, Diego Valeri (Alvas Powell, 32’), Diego Chara; Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo, 74’), Ryan Johnson (Jose Adolfo Valencia, 46’), Rodney Wallace
Substitutes not used: Milos Kocic (GK), Futty Danso, Bright Dike, Steven Evans, Sal Zizzo
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, C.J. Morgante
4th Official: Robert Sibiga
Weather: Clear and 94 degrees