Real Salt Lake overturn Portland Timbers in physical road win

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Coming out of the CONCACAF Gold Cup break, Caleb Porter believed Real Salt Lake would be ready for the challenge on Wednesday against his Portland Timbers. But he thought the Timbers would be up to the task.

Instead, RSL routed the Timbers 4-1 at Providence Park, as multiple red cards and injuries battered an already shorthanded home side.

Porter only had fifteen field players in his gameday lineup, the lowest number he’s had in his five years in charge in Portland. Unfortunately, that number dwindled as the game progressed. It started with Chance Myers, who, in his Portland debut, was carried off the field before halftime due to serious injury. 

But at that point Portland were still very much in the game, the difference being only Kyle Beckerman’s terrific opening strike from far outside of the box in the 10th minute.

“I found myself in space,” Beckerman explained following the match. “First, I kind of looked to whip it across for maybe the back post, but nobody was making a run. So, I thought, Let's have a go and see what happens.

“Sometimes they go in,” Beckerman wryly concluded.

Matters heated up for both sides after the break. “In the second half,” Porter lamented, “Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. And it was because of us that it went wrong.”

After Joao Plata extended RSL's lead, Myers' replacement Victor Arboleda was issued a straight red card. Two minutes later, things got even more wild when Timbers striker Fanendo Adi struck Beckerman to the ground. After taking a few moments to confer with his linesmen, referee Baldomero Toledo issued both players red cards, leaving the game 10 v. 9 for more than 30 minutes.

Following the match Toledo explained Beckerman had struck Adi with his raised arm during live play in a “violent manner.” RSL coach Mike Petke said following the match that the team is planning on appealing the one-match suspension for Beckerman.

Portland’s loss was RSL’s gain as the club got their first win against the Timbers in nine attempts, being the first time the club has completed back-to-back road victories in over three years.

“You never think you're going to come in [to Portland] and get a big scoreline,” Beckerman noted, adding that RSL’s next task will be to “bring ourselves down to Earth,” in the three days until their next match against Sporting Kansas City (Saturday, 10 pm ET | MLS LIVE).