RSL Remain Just Outside of Playoff Position with One Match Remaining; RSL faces Sporting Kansas City on Decision Day

SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, November 3, 2021) – Real Salt Lake (13-14-6, 45 points) fell 3-1 to the Portland Timbers in the final home match of the 2021 regular season in front of 18,405 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Albert Rusnak scored his 11th goal of the season, but it was not enough to overcome a trio first-half goals from Portland.

RSL jumped out as the early aggressor, maintaining a majority of the possession while creating several opportunities in the first 15 minutes. However, in the 17th minute with its first real opportunity of the match, Portland capitalized from a corner kick with a goal from Sebastian Blanco. Despite going down a goal RSL continued to hold majority of the possession, but a counterattack from Portland and a misdirected touch from Aaron Herrera saw the Timbers double their lead in the 38th minute. Just before the end of the first half Blanco got his second of the night, dispossessing Pablo Ruiz at midfield before dribbling half the length of the field before slotting home to see the Timbers take the 3-0 lead into halftime.

RSL continued to push for a goal in the second half with Erik Holt nearly finding the breakthrough goal in the 57th minute, but goalkeeper Steve Clark was able to reach out his right arm and push the ball away. The two sides continued to go back and forth until the 88th minute when a hand struck the ball in Portland’s penalty area that awarded RSL a penalty kick. Rusnak stepped up and buried the shot for the team’s lone goal of the match, as the game ended 3-1 several moments later in Portland’s favor.

UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake will travel to Sporting Kansas City for its final regular-season match of the 2021 Major League Soccer season on Sunday, November 7 at 4:00 p.m. MT for the league’s Decision Day to determine final seedings for the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.


POR: Sebastian Blanco (Cristhian Paredes, Diego Chara) 17th minute: From a corner, Chara sent a cross into the box where Paredes flicked it backwards to the back post for Blanco to run on and redirect a header into the back of the net.

POR: Aaron Herrera (Own Goal) 38th minute: Attempting to break up a low cross, Herrera stuck his foot in the path of the ball and misdirected it into the goal.

POR: Sebastian Blanco (Jaroslaw Niezgoda) 45th minute: Blanco recovered the ball in the middle of the pitch and took off towards goal. At the top of the box, he laid off a pass for Niezgoda, who took one touch before passing it back. Blanco ran on to the pass and hit it with his right foot into the far corner.

RSL: Albert Rusnak (PK) 88th minute: After being awarded a penalty kick for a handball in the box, Rusnak stepped up and fired a shot up the middle to pull one back for RSL.

- Prior to kickoff, the Club honored MLS Legend and former captain Kyle Beckerman. The Club renamed Rio Tinto Stadium’s Section Five in honor of Beckerman, naming the seating section “Beckerman’s Block”.

- Real Salt Lake had five RSL Academy products in the XI and six on the 20-man roster. Additionally, three players on the 20-man roster were previously signed to the Monarchs.

- Coming on as a second-half substitute, forward Justin Meram recorded his 50th appearance for RSL.

Match: Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers
Date: November 3, 2021
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Weather: Clear and 50 degrees
Attendance: 18,405

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 1 1
Portland Timbers 3 0 3

POR: Sebastian Blanco (Cristhian Paredes, Diego Chara) 17’
POR: Aaron Herrera (Own Goal) 38’
POR: Sebastian Blanco (Jaroslaw Niezgoda) 38’
RSL: Albert Rusnak (PK) 88’

Real Salt Lake (3-5-2): David Ochoa; Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad, Erik Holt; Andrew Brody (Justin Meram 46’), Pablo Ruiz, Maikel Chang (Jonathan Menendez 75’), Everton Luiz (Anderson Julio 84’), Albert Rusnak; Damir Kreilach, Rubio Rubin (Bobby Wood 61’)

Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Ashtone Morgan, Marcelo Silva, Donny Toia, Nick Besler

Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark; Claudio Bravo, Jose Van Rankin, Bill Tuiloma, Dario Zuparic; Dairon Asprilla, Sebastian Blanco (Santiago Moreno 75’), Yimmi Chara (Marvin Loria 88’), Cristhian Paredes (George Fochive 75’), Diego Chara; Jaroslaw Niezgoda (Felipe Mora 61’)

Subs not used: Larrys Mabiala, Diego Valeri, Zac McGraw, Aljaz Ivacic, Pablo Bonilla

Stats Summary: RSL / POR
Shots: 20/ 12
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 7 / 15


RSL: Pablo Ruiz (caution) 36’

POR: Bill Tuiloma (caution) 82’

POR: Claudio Bravo (caution) 87’

Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Gjovalin Bori, Mike Rottersman
4th Official: Victor Rivas
VAR: Fotis Bazakos
AVAR: TJ Zablocki