The Portland Timbers clinched a berth in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 3-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Sunday evening at Providence Park. RSL will be scoreboard watching next week waiting to see if they get in.
The home side went ahead at the quarter hour when Diego Valeri lifted a beautiful free kick from 35 yards over the defense, finding center back Larrys Mabiala who finished on first-time shot at the near post.
RSL, playing their last game of the season and needing a win to secure their lead over the LA Galaxy for the final berth in the West, took a while to get going. And when they made their push, they could not get past Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark.
- 15' – POR – Larrys Mabiala | WATCH
- 68' – POR – Diego Charra | WATCH
- 87' – POR – Sebastian Blanco | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Portland makes the playoffs for the second straight year, and can now eye a shot at a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the West — which would mean hosting a home game — as they head into Decision Day presented by AT&T. RSL, which also lost to Portland, 4-1, a few weeks ago, must now hope the Galaxy does not beat Houston in their final game next week in order to get in.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: This second half save by Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark was huge with the Timbers only up 1-0:
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Clark made a number of fantastic saves on both sides of the break to deny RSL any chance of tying the game, and bought his teammates time to put the game away.