Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers | MLS Match Preview
REAL SALT LAKE vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
June 7, 2014 (WEEK 14, MLS Game #133)
8 p.m. MT (UDN; KTVA-ABC; ROOT-NW)
A vital match in the Western Conference is ahead on Saturday evening when Real Salt Lake play host to the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL return home following a midweek 1-1 draw at the Columbus Crew, keeping touch in second place in the Western Conference. The Timbers saw their undefeated run come to an end after six games last time out and are still mired at the bottom of the division following a 4-3 home loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 24.9; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 8; pens: 9
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Javier Morales … POR: Pa Modou Kah
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio, Chris Schuler … POR: Norbetto Paparetto, Diego Chara
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: RSL: Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando (USA)
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Real 5 wins, 17 goals … Timbers 1 win, 10 goals … Ties 3
AT SALT LAKE (5 meetings): Real 4 wins, 11 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 10/17: Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. PT
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season, Ned Grabavoy’s goal in the 77th minute the difference in the 1-0 Real victory, April 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- The visiting team has won just once all-time in the series in league play – a 3-2 RSL win in Portland in 2012. Real are 4-0-1 all-time at Rio Tinto Stadium vs. the Timbers.
- The teams met in a thrilling Western Conference Championship last season, Real winning 4-2 in Sandy in the first leg, then taking a 1-0 win at Portland to advance to MLS Cup 2013 5-2 on aggregate.
- Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. RSL: P4 W0 L2 D2 … Jeff Cassar vs. POR: P1 W1 L0 D0
LAST MEETING (MLS)
4/19: RSL 1, POR 0 (Grabavoy 78)
- The game's lone goal came in the 78th minute. Midfielder Ned Grabavoy took a pass from Sebastian Velasquez and drove past a defender into the left side of the Timbers area before finishing with a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
- Real goalkeeper Nick Rimando made four saves, three of the spectacular variety, in earning his 111th career shutout, one short of tying the all-time MLS record held by Kevin Hartman.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez 67), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Olmes Garcia (Joao Plata 67), Alvaro Saborio (Devon Sandoval 90).
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury (Alvas Powell 83), Pa Modou Kah, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington - Will Johnson, Diego Chara - Kalif Alhassan (Michael Nanchoff 77), Diego Valeri (Gaston Fernandez 61), Darlington Nagbe - Maximiliano Urruti.
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake rebounded from their first defeat of the season, though they were hauled back into a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew on Wednesday evening at Crew Stadium. RSL are in second place in the Western Conference with 25 points from 14 matches.
- Real scored the opening goal in the 56th minute. From a partially cleared corner, defender Abdoulie Mansally launched a screamer from outside of the box which Crew ‘keeper Steve Clark stopped at full stretch. But the rebound was first reached by Luis Gil, who slotted a shot across Clark and into the back of the net off the post.
- The Crew hit for the leveler in the 88th minute. Ben Speas found substitute Ethan Finlay on the right wing with a gorgeous through ball, and he sent a looping chip over RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella to the back of the net to draw the Crew level.
- RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made six changes to the team that fell 4-0 to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. Only goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, midfielder Cole Grossman, Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy and striker Olmes Garcia kept their places.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-2-3-1): Jeff Attinella - Rich Balchan (Tony Beltran 79), Carlos Salcedo, Chris Schuler, Abdoulie Mansally - John Stertzer, Cole Grossman - Luis Gil (Luke Mulholland 86), Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy - Olmes Garcia (Devon Sandoval 72).
- Real have conceded seven goals in the final 15 minutes of matches, one fewer than league leaders Chivas USA, Portland and Vancouver. It was the fifth time this season RSL have conceded an equalizing goal from the 88th minute onward.
- Luis Gil scored his first goal since March 29, his second this season and the 10th of his career in his fourth MLS campaign. He was making his first start since April 5, having come on as a substitute in three consecutive matches.
- “It felt good. I still feel like I was a step or two slow. It took me a while to get into it,” Gil said. “Like you said, it’s been over a month since I got some big minutes like that. It’s good to get the goal but now we have to look forward to the next game.”
- With a number of strikers out through injury, Cassar ran out Olmes Garcia as the lone forward in front of a five-man midfield.
- “We came in here with a goal to play really well defensively, and that's kind of what [the 4-5-1] does,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said. “And it also gave us a chance to rest Devon [Sandoval]. Didn't have to bring [Joao] Plata back too early [from a hamstring injury]. It's a formation that … we're down numbers in forwards, but it lets Javi [Morales] attack and it gives us a good defensive shape. So for this game, for this situation, I loved it.”
- Said Gil: “It was different. We obviously haven’t played that formation yet. We put guys in there to make it difficult for them to play through us. I felt like it gave me more of a chance to get forward.”
- Carlos Salcedo was making his first start of the season, in central defense, while both Rich Balchan and Abdoulie Mansally were making their first starts since April 5, filling the fullback roles.
- “We were able to rest typically three starters from our back line, which is important. Luke Mulholland and Devon Sandoval got a rest. Joao Plata is going to be putting himself into the mix, so that’s a good thing for us. We had to be mindful of it,” said Cassar.
- Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella saw RSL play to a fourth draw in six matches when he was between the posts; he had suffered the only loss by Real this season.
- “At the end of the day we are going to leave here feeling fine with a point. We could have had three,” said Cassar. “Our goalkeeper played fantastic, so it was probably the correct result at the end of the day. If we could do a better job in the last five minutes of games we would have a much better record.”
The Portland Timbers saw their undefeated run come to an end after six matches, falling 4-3 to Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday evening at Providence Park. The Timbers are in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 16 points from 14 games.
- The Timbers took the lead after just three minutes. From the right wing, Diego Valeri crossed to Maximiliano Urruti at the top of the area, and he unleashed a left-footed blast past Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted.
- But the visitors were ahead thanks to two penalty kicks. In the 16th minute, Erik Hurtado was tripped up by Diego Chara in front of the box, and referee Kevin Stott immediately whistled for a penalty kick, which was converted by Pedro Morales. Then in the 26th minute, Kekuta Manneh was clipped down by Pa Modou Kah, and Morales again coolly converted the spot kick.
- It was 3-1 for Whitecaps FC in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time when Hurtado collected a Morales cross and fired point-blank on Donovan Ricketts. The big Timbers ‘keeper saved the first attempt, but Hurtado bundled home the rebound from close range. Then it was 4-1 four minutes into the second half when Jordan Harvey let fly a curling left-footed blast after collecting a Morales cross from across the penalty area.
- The Timbers finally pulled a goal back in the 77th minute from a Gaston Fernandez header off a Valeri cross. Then the margin was cut to one with a wonderful goal in the 86th minute, as Fanendo Adi juggled a long ball in the box and popped it over a defender, who scored from an outstanding volley of his own inside the right-hand post, but that was as close as Portland got.
- Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made seven changes to the team that defeated Chivas USA 2-0 at StubHub Center. Only goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, fullback Jorge Villafana and midfielders Will Johnson and Diego Chara maintained their places in the team.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-1-3): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Rauwshan McKenzie, Pa Modou Kah, Jorge Villafana (Kalif Alhassan 77) - Will Johnson, Diego Chara - Diego Valeri - Darlington Nagbe, Maximiliano Urruti (Gaston Fernandez 66), Steve Zakuani (Fanendo Adi 57).
- The Timbers saw their six-game undefeated run come to end in the loss, their first-ever in MLS to their Cascadia rivals. The Timbers had gone 3-0-3 since the loss at Real Salt Lake on April 19 in the first meeting between the teams.
- “We realized our goal going into an eight-day stretch with three games was to get nine points. When you look back on it the first two on the road, some people would say we did the hard part. Then coming back here we felt very confident,” said defender Jack Jewsbury. “I think everyone on this team for the past week has shown that they belong; we used a lot of guys in different roles. It’s just disappointing the last step of that process was to get three points today and we fell a bit short.”
- The Timbers allowed a pair of penalty kicks, and have allowed eight penalty kicks this season. Since they have come into MLS, in 2011, the Timbers have allowed 24 penalty kicks – by far the most in the league. They have taken just eight spot kicks – the second-fewest over that timespan (Toronto FC, 6).
- “If you’re going to call a PK, two of them, I’ll accept that, but you better give them on the other end, too,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “That’s where I have a problem, not the calls that were made, but the ones that weren’t made. It has to be consistent the way a ref calls the game.”
- Diego Valeri set up all three goals, and now has an assist on each of the Timbers’ last four goals. Valeri’s seven assists this season lead MLS; he led the league with 13 assists last year.
- A week after scoring his first two MLS goals, Fanendo Adi came off the substitutes’ bench and collected his first MLS assist.
- “We’re down three goals, we needed to get balls in the box, obviously he’s a guy who can flick things on. He’s a load in there in the box, and I thought obviously late in the game we made an aggressive push,” said Porter. “We played three in back. We can’t play like that the entire game, but I thought it obviously it helped us pull two goals back.”
- Maximiliano Urruti scored his sixth goal of the season, his fourth goal in the last four matches.
- Following the match, the Timbers sent Mamadou Danso to the Montreal Impact in exchange for a pick in the 2015 SuperDraft.
- “A move like this with such a well-liked and respected player is never easy, but as we look to strengthen the group in the summer, we needed to create roster and cap flexibility,” said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson.