Recap: RSL 1-3 Portland Timbers

SANDY, Utah  – Real Salt Lake (6-2-7, 25 Points, West #2) lost its second match of 2014 on Saturday, falling 3-1 to Portland Timbers (4-4-7, 19 points, West #6) in front of a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium.

Tonight’s loss ends the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 11-game unbeaten run against the Cascadia side. RSL now posts an 8-2-3 all-time record across all competitions and a 5-2-3 all-time regular season record against the Timbers.

Real Salt Lake scored the opening goal in the 23rd minute, when RSL MF Luke Mulholland took down DF Chris Schuler’s flick-on header inside the box and half-volleyed a shot past Portland GK Donovan Ricketts. Things didn’t go RSL’s way after taking the lead, with Portland finding the equalizer in the 36th minute through FW Fanendo Adi who headed home MF Diego Valeri’s corner kick. Adi struck again right before halftime, cleaning up the rebound off a save from RSL GK Jeff Attinella. RSL went down a man in the 54th minute after RSL DF Tony Beltran picked up a second yellow card, and the Timbers went on to put the match away with a penalty kick goal in the 73rd minute, taken by former RSL MF Will Johnson.

Real Salt Lake controlled the early stages, and had the first chance of the match in the 5th minute. The play started with RSL MF Javier Morales’ corner kick, which was cleared out of the box to Mulholland on the left side who switched play back to Morales on the right. The Argentine sent a cross into the box that found an open DF Nat Borchers in front of goal, but the center back was unable to keep his diving header on target, sending the shot just wide of the net.

Portland registered the next chance in the 11th minute. Portland Timbers DF Jorge Villafana found room to maneuver down the left flank and sent a cross into the box which found the head of Portland’s Adi. Attinella found himself in the right place though, and easily took care of the shot.

Real Salt Lake went on to record a pair of chances in the 16th and 22nd minutes. Morales had the first chance, collecting a pass from Beltran on the left side. Morales cut into the box and fired a right-footed shot narrowly missing the far post. RSL MF Luis Gil created the next chance, flicking on a Portland clearance at the top of the box to set himself up for a half-volley attempt. Portland GK Donovan Ricketts came up big, getting one hand to the shot to push it out of play.

Mulholland went on to give RSL the lead in the 23rd minute. The play started with a Claret-and-Cobalt corner taken by Morales that Schuler flicked on to the middle of the box. Mulholland took down the pass and half-volleyed a right-footed rocket from 15 yards out, beating Ricketts to the near post, for his fourth goal of the season.

Gil almost doubled the lead in the 28th minute. RSL MF Ned Grabavoy found Gil just inside the 18 yard box on the right side. The U.S. international managed to work his way around two Portland defenders and lay off a pass to RSL FW Olmes Garcia at the top of the box, who sent a beautiful curling shot right at Ricketts.

Portland was able to find the equalizer in the 36th minute. Portland MF Diego Valeri earned the assist, taking a pin-point corner kick that found the head of Portland’s Adi, who was able to send his shot to the far post, beating a helpless Attinella.

Portland kept piling on the pressure, forcing Attinella to produce a pair of big saves in the 40th and 41st minutes. Portland’s Adi threatened again, blasting a shot from 20 yards out that forced a diving one-handed save by the Claret-and-Cobalt ‘keeper. Portland’s Valeri got the next chance a minute later, picking up a turnover in RSL’s final third. The Argentine sprinted into the box and sent a powerful close-range shot right at Attinella, who managed to push the strike over the crossbar.

Mulholland had an opportunity to make it two on the night in the 45th minute. The Englishman picked up the ball 20 yards out and curled an attractive shot towards goal that Ricketts had to one-hand over the bar.

Portland got the last word before the half though, taking the lead in the 45th minute through Adi again. Portland caught the Claret-and-Cobalt on the counter, springing Portland FW Darlington Nagbe who sped into the box and tried to beat Attinella to the far post. Attinella made a great diving one-handed save that unfortunately deflected off of RSL DF Chris Wingert right into the path of Adi, who easily finished from inside the penalty box.

Real Salt Lake opened the second half aggressively, desperately searching for an equalizer. Grabavoy almost worked some magic to tie things up in the 57th minute. The veteran midfielder superbly chested down a Portland clearance at the top of the box, which he then volleyed straight to Ricketts who had to juggle the powerful attempt.

Real Salt Lake was dealt a blow in the 54th minute when RSL DF Tony Beltran was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Portland’s Nagbe. Despite being down a man, the Claret-and-Cobalt continued to stay on the front foot but suffered another blow in the 73rd minute when Portland was awarded a penalty kick. RSL center back Chris Schuler was called for the foul after he appeared to take down the ball with his arm during a slide tackle in the box. Former RSL MF Will Johnson stepped up to the spot and coolly slotted the ball into the left corner to put Portland up by two.

Portland continued to put its attacking speed on show, almost scoring a fourth goal in the 81st minute. Nagbe made a quick run down the right flank, cutting into the box and fired a right-footed shot, but Attinella came up big, stoning the speedy youngster from close-range.

Real Salt Lake continued to push forward in the final 10 minutes, but was unable to register any clear-cut chances in front of net. The Claret-and-Cobalt had a half-chance in the 91st minute with a free kick awarded 25 yards out in the center of the field. RSL Substitute DF Abdoulie Mansally was the one to take but his shot attempt flew high over the bar.

Real Salt Lake now enters its MLS World Cup break, not returning to MLS play until June 28 when it takes on Chivas USA at StubHub center. The Claret-and-Cobalt begins U.S. Open Cup play next Saturday, June 14, facing NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks on the road. The RSL-Atlanta contest will be streamed live on and kicks at 6:00 p.m. MT.

Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 1–3 POR

Box Score Notes:

  • Tonight’s attendance of 20,480 marks Real Salt Lake’s fifth sell-out this year. RSL was at capacity for the March 22 season opening 1-1 draw against LA, the April 19 1-0 win against Portland, the May 17 2-1 victory over Colorado, and May 24 scoreless draw with FC Dallas. Tonight’s sell-out marks the club’s 34th sell-out across all competitions since Rio Tinto Stadium’s 2008 opening.
  • Tonight’s loss moves RSL to a 6-2-7 record through its first 15 matches of the season. RSL remains second in the league and Western Conference with 25 points, now seven points behind leaders Seattle Sounders FC.
  • Tonight’s loss officially ends RSL’s unbeaten streak against the Timbers at 11 games. RSL now posts an 8-2-3 all-time record across all competitions against the Cascadia side and a 5-2-3 all-time regular season record against the Timbers.
  • Tonight marked the return to RSL’s signature diamond midfield formation. RSL MF Ned Grabavoy played at the bottom of the diamond in place of MF Cole Grossman who remained on the bench tonight.
  • RSL FW Joao Plata returned to the lineup tonight after missing RSL’s last two matches. The speedy Ecuadorian suffered a hamstring injury during the Claret-and-Cobalt’s scoreless draw against FC Dallas on May 24. The dynamic striker has found the back of the net six times this year in now ten appearances, tying him for the team lead with Saborio.
  • RSL MF Luis Gil was in the starting eleven, his second start this year since RSL’s scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City on April 5, 2014.
  • RSL backup GK Jeff Attinella earned his fifth start of the 2014 season Wednesday, filling in for veteran GK Nick Rimando. Attinella now posts a 1-2-4 record in 2014 and a 2-4-5 regular season record in his RSL career.
  • Missing from today’s lineup were U.S. internationals Captain Kyle Beckerman and GK Nick Rimando and Costa Rican international FW Alvaro Saborio. All three players left the club on May 14 for pre-World Cup training camps with their respective national teams. Beckerman and Rimando were named to the U.S.’s final 23-man World Cup roster on Thursday. Saborio suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture while training with the Costa Rican national team last week and will miss the World Cup and is scheduled to be out 3-4 months. RSL is now 1-2-2 without all three of Beckerman, Rimando and Saborio this year. The Claret-and-Cobalt is now 3-4-4 in MLS play when missing all three players since the start of 2013.




Goals by Period                   1          2          F
Real Salt Lake                        1          0          1                                             

Portland Timbers                    2          1          3                                             

Scoring Summary:

RSL – Luke Mulholland – 23’

POR- Fanendo Adi (Diego Valeri) – 36’

POR – Fanendo Adi – 45’

POR – Will Johnson – 73’

Misconduct Summary:

RSL – Tony Beltran (Yellow; Foul) – 53’

RSL – Tony Beltran (Yellow; Foul) – 54’

RSL – Olmes Garcia (Yellow; Foul) – 70’

RSL – Luke Mulholland (Yellow; Foul) – 84’

POR – Diego Chara (Yellow; Foul) – 90+


Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Jeff Attinella; Chris Wingert, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran; Ned Grabavoy (Cole Grossman, 63’), Luis Gil (Devon Sandoval, 77’), Luke Mulholland, Javier Morales (C); Olmes Garcia, Joao Plata (Abdoulie Mansally, 58’)

Substitutes not used: Lalo Fernandez; Carlos Salcedo, Rich Balchan, John Stertzer

Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts; Jorje Villafana, Norberto Paparatto (Danny O’Rourke, 60’), Rauwshan McKenzie, Jack Jewsbury; Diego Valeri, Will Johnson, Diego Chara; Fanendo Adi, Darlington Nagbe (Kalif Alhassan, 88’), Gaston Fernandez (Steve Zakuani, 68’)

Substitutes not used: Andrew Weber; Michael Nanchoff, Alvas Powell, Maximiliano Urruti,

Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Kermit Quisenberry, Paul Scott

4th Official: Daniel Radford

Attendance: 20,480
Weather: Clear and 80 degrees