The Portland Timbers missed a golden opportunity to take sole possession of the top spot in the Western Conference as they saw their five-game winning streak halted by a 2-1 road loss to Real Salt Lake, who rode a pair of goals in the opening half hour to snap their own three-game losing streak.
RSL forward Douglas Martinez opened the scoring in the 11th minute, pouncing on a ball spilled by Timbers goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic after he was late off his line to deal with a penetrating ball from RSL's Aaron Herrera. Damir Kreilach then doubled RSL’s advantage in the 26th minute with a full volley off a Pablo Ruiz corner kick.
There were chances to add to that advantage in the first half, but Ivacic made up for that early blunder with sensational saves to deny a Kreilach free kick and a Martinez open shot in the box three minutes apart.
Putna spilled a Valeri free kick moments later, but the scramble in front of goal didn’t result in a Timbers equalizer as Real Salt Lake survived a late onslaught to take all three points.
- 11’ — RSL — Douglas Martinez | WATCH
- 26’ — RSL — Damir Kreilach | WATCH
- 77’ — POR — Bill Tuiloma | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Timbers squandered a chance to move alone atop the Western Conference. Instead they remain level on points with the rival Sounders, who were not in action on Wednesday. RSL had scored just three goals in four matches without a win, but they got the two they needed early and held on for dear life late with some adventurous moments in net by Putna.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Immediately after Tuiloma gave Portland late life with a goal, Putna spilled a Valeri corner in front. The Timbers were an inch or two away from the equalizer and this was probably their best chance.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Damir Kreilach scored another banger and it was also his run to latch onto a Herrera long ball that forced Ivacic into his mistake on Martinez’s opening goal. He remained dangerous throughout the match, nearly adding a second goal on a few occasions.