PORTLAND, Oregon – For the third straight time in a regular season match, Real Salt Lake (0-0-1, 1 point) and the Portland Timbers (0-0-1, 1 point) played to a scoreless draw at Providence Park. The season-opening match on Saturday was RSL GK Nick Rimando’s 116th career clean sheet as he opened the year with a shutout for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Rimando finished the night with five saves, but it was a goal-line clearance by DF Chris Schuler that saved the match for RSL in stoppage time as Michael Nanchoff hammered a shot in the middle of a scrum in the box and Schuler lunged at the net-bound ball to make the clearance and earn a point on the road for RSL.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, but RSL held 60.5-percent of the possession, limiting the chances by the Timbers.
In the 29th minute, Dairon Asprilla got the first good opportunity of the match. Rodney Wallace clipped a cross in from the left side and Asprilla pushed his header just outside the near post and the match remained scoreless through the first 45 minutes.
Like the previous match RSL played in Portland in October of 2014, Rimando was called on to make a big play to keep the Timbers off the board in the second half. Off a corner kick in the 53rd minute the ball fell to Wallace in the box. The ball bounced up for him and he hit a hard shot from seven yards out, but Rimando was there to bat it away for a tremendous save to keep the match in a deadlock.
In the 59th minute, Wallace got in up the right side, cut back at the endline and fired a low-angle shot on Rimando and he was again up to the task, parrying away for a corner kick.
Real Salt Lake didn’t manage a shot on goal until the 73rd minute when MF Javier Morales sent a 28-yard free kick toward net on the right side, but Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey shuffled to his left to make the save.
That set the stage for the late heroics from Schuler.
In second-half stoppage time, Wallace floated a cross to the far post intended for Gaston Fernandez. Rimando came off his line to punch it, but his attempted clearance fell to Michael Nanchoff for a first-time effort. With nothing but a goal behind him, Schuler lunged to make the block, but RSL wasn’t clear from danger yet. Two more attempts by Darlington Nagbe and Fernandez were blocked and Salt Lake held on for the scoreless draw.
RSL returns to Rio Tinto Stadium for the home opener on March 14 at 7:30 p.m. MT against the Philadelphia Union.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – POR – RSL
- The scoreless match was the third straight 0-0 draw between the two sides at Providence Park in regular season play and fourth time RSL had held Portland scoreless in its own building, including a 1-0 win in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2013. The shutout streak is now 364 consecutive minutes.
- Saturday’s match marked the 100th career MLS start for Alvaro Saborio. He has 60 career goals to rank third all-time through his first 100 starts. He has also added 13 career assists in 114 total appearances.
- After two years away, Jamison Olave made his return to RSL on Saturday.
- Real Salt Lake is now 8-2-5 all-time against the Timbers across all competitions and 2-1-4 at Providence Park.
PORTLAND TIMBERS 0-0 REAL SALT LAKE
SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2015
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 0 0 0
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
RSL – Abdoulie Mansally (Yellow; Foul) – 27’
POR – Alvas Powell (Yellow; Foul) – 33’
RSL – Luis Gil (Yellow; Foul) – 46+’
RSL – Chris Schuler (Yellow; Foul) – 48’
POR – Liam Ridgewell (Yellow; Foul) – 57’
Real Salt Lake (4-3-3): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Chris Schuler, Abdoulie Mansally; Kyle Beckerman (C), Luis Gil (Devon Sandoval, 88’), Javier Morales; Sebastian Jaime (Luke Mulholland, 64’), Alvaro Saborio, Olmes Garcia (Jordan Allen, 81’).
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Sebastian Saucedo, Aaron Maund, Elias Vasquez.
Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1): Adam Larsen Kwarasey; Alvas Powell, Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell (C), Jorge Villafana; Jack Jewsbury, George Fochive (Michael Nanchoff, 86’); Dairon Asprilla (Gaston Fernandez, 62’), Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace; Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti, 82’).
Substitutes not used: Andrew Weber, Jeanderson, Nick Besler, Norberto Paparatto.
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Juan Guzman
Weather: Clear and 57