Real Salt Lake's upset-driven run in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs has run out of steam.
The No. 7 seed lost 2-0 at the Portland Timbers in Saturday night's Western Conference Final, missing their chance at reaching MLS Cup on Dec. 11.
Here's how Claret-and-Cobalt players fared when dropping their fourth game of the year to the Rose City club.
HIGHLIGHTS: Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake | December 04, 2021
Ochoa got away with a juicy rebound spill, but both goals featured a bit of misfortune. Solid positioning allowed him to make a few saves look easy, though. Ultimately, the postseason run ends for MLS’ self-described postseason villain.
It was just one of those days for the RSL right back, and it started early. Herrera's regrettable clearance whiff effectively teed up Felipe Mora's ice-breaker and he'd eventually leave his side short after drawing a second yellow card with 11 minutes to go. In between, he sent in a few tempting crosses, but also had trouble slowing down Portland wingers at the other end.
Though he was right around the play, I personally find it extremely harsh to consider Glad among the culpable on Portland's opener. And other than that incident, the RSL defender was quietly competent.
RSL’s other center back made the more showy stops, including a couple of important first-half tackles. However, Silva was also at fault on both Portland goals (once for losing the set-up man and once for neglecting to close down the shooter).
For the most part, the RSL fullback handled himself solidly. Brody wasn't flawless or stellar, but nearly all of his side's troubles happened elsewhere.
Like Brody, the defensive midfielder put in a good soldier performance upon spelling the suspended Everton Luiz. When RSL were able to slow down the hosts, it was usually Besler standing in their way.
This was one the young midfielder will want to learn from. Though Ruiz got his tackling game together over the final half-hour, he spent the majority of the contest chasing Portland jailbreaks through his jurisdiction. If that wasn't enough, he also killed two of RSL's precious few final third advances with wild shots from too far out.
The hard-nosed RSL ace did what he could while being starved for service. Kreilach threw himself into challenges, linked whatever rushes the visitors could muster and put a pair of headers on target.
Much was made of Rusnak's return to the starting lineup (including by me), but Portland's busy-body midfield essentially reduced him to the role of occasional possession linker. By the time he found space to operate and the service that was lacking for most of the night, it was too late.
The speedy winger enjoyed a few gallops on the ball but was always either fumbly when the time came to make a play or cruelly dispossessed. Anderson Julio was also not especially helpful tracking back.
It's almost unfair to rate Rubin's portrayal of the Invisible Man because somebody has to get him the ball. That said, at some point, a striker has to find the soft spots to unnerve the defense, and that didn't happen.
The early leak really played into Portland's hands, basically sending Mastroeni's game plan out the window five minutes in. That's a tough break and all, but RSL had a major midfield shape/numbers problem that was never dealt with, and that cannot be so easily forgiven.
The wing sub certainly did more to bring RSL to dangerous spots in 32 minutes than the rest of his teammates did in 90, but never quite produced the right final ball.
While Meram's partner-in-crime off the bench also tried to force the issue, his touch didn't always cooperate.
The Argentine winger wasn't bad in his 19 minutes but didn't provide the needed offensive spark, either.