RSL roll in first leg but late goal gives Timbers hope

JavierMorales2 (DeseretNews)

By TYLER GRAY

SANDY, Utah – The Portland Timbers scored the early goal, but it was Real Salt Lake that ended the night as the team in control.

The Timbers shocked the home side with an early Will Johnson free kick goal, but RSL rattled off four straight goals from four different players before securing the 4-2 first-leg victory at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The Timbers endured a rough night, but gave themselves hope for the second leg on Nov. 24th at Jeld-Wen Field when Freddy Piqiuonne scored a last-second header goal to make the final score 4-2, and cut RSL’s lead to two goals heading back to Portland.

Javier Morales was the star of the night for RSL, setting up two goals and scoring on a header to deliver the home team’s fourth goal of the night.

Portland’s first goal came against the run of play when RSL defender Chris Wingert committed a harsh tackled on Diego Valeri. A free kick was given about 28 yards out and Timbers midfielder Will Johnson stepped up to take it.

The former RSL man knuckled a delicious ball just over and through the wall that whizzed past RSL ‘keeper Nick Rimando and into the back of the net stunning an RSL side that looked like they were in control.

The goal seemed to wake the claret-and-cobalt up, however, as they came roaring back with a purpose.

RSL head coach Jason Kreis credited his team for how they responded to giving up an early goal to the visiting Timbers.

“Our response to that first goal was terrific,” Kreis said. “Our guys just got better and better as the game wore on and we got back to the things that we do well.”

RSL defender Chris Schuler’s headed goal off a Morales corner kick was the catalyst in the 35th minute, knotting things up at 1-1.

Schuler scored for the second game in a row when Morales curled in a corner kick and found him in the box. The resurgent centerback rose up and nodded the ball inside the far post and the score was level.

Findley grabbed the lead off an opportunistic run that forced Timbers defender, Mamadou Danso, into a hurried back pass. RSL’s leader in playoff goals made no mistake as he ran onto the ball and slotted the ball past Portland keeper, Donovan Ricketts, and into the back of the net.

RSL’s lead was never threatened again and they pounded in two more second-half goals courtesy of rookie Devon Sandoval, who notched his first MLS playoff goal, and veteran Morales.

Portland was able to pull one back at the death when defender Jack Jewsbury sent in a ball that found Frederic Piquionne who rose up and blasted his header to the far post where Nick Rimando could do nothing.

Piquionne’s goal shifted the narrative somewhat on a night where RSL could have easily notched a few more goals. RSL is well-acquainted with carrying multiple goal leads into another team’s stadium (see 2011 semifinal away leg at Seattle) but is determined to stay focused during the unusually long two-week layoff.

“They’re going to need to get that first goal, an early goal, but we have to be a mature team and we have to defend well,” RSL defender Nat Borchers said. “We have to be aggressive and that’s the way that we play even on the road. We’re going to have to push for that first goal and if we can get that I think that puts us in a good position to go.”

RSL also has to feel confident because they’ve been able to get contributions from all over the field. This team has scored six goals in its past two games with five different players providing a tally. They can approach the second leg of the conference finals with a lot of confidence that they’ll be able to get the job done.

One of the key pieces of this renewed RSL side, Sebastian Velasquez, stressed that this is only halftime.

“It puts us in a great position to go to Portland and hopefully be able to get a good result there,” Velasquez said. “We’ve done well in Portland. In saying that, we had a three goal advantage then we kind of let one down. I think it’s better to say that we have that little bit of that urgency that there’s still 90 minutes left. It’s only half time.”

The second leg of the Western Conference Finals will take place Sunday, November 24th at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon.

Here are the game highlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Dgwdy11YAM

This entry was posted in Featured, MLS Playoffs, MLS- Portland Timbers, MLS- Real Salt Lake. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to RSL roll in first leg but late goal gives Timbers hope

  1. Andre Mariner says:

    Basically just a 2-0 loss. Nothing they can’t overcome at home.

    Unless I show up :D

  2. Kingsly Alexander says:

    Most entertaining matchup possible between these two. I Hope KC emerges over Houston, tbh. Whoever they play between RSL and Portland will also be highly entertaining.

    • Bean says:

      Houston is one of the most entertaining teams to watch if they aren’t playing against SKC. If you like dribbling, and crisp passing then the Dynamo are one of the best. They are a high press team that created more chances then almost every team this season. Give me the dribbling, and overlapping runs of Boniek, and Sarkodie any day over most of what the league can offer. They would be unbeatable if only they had an in-form striker to covert all of those chances.

      • TomG says:

        Ugh, no. I totally disagree. Dom completely shuts it down against any halfway decent side and plays sit back and counter.

      • Tony says:

        The dynamo is the most boring team in mls. Even though you are a fan you need to be honest with yourself!!!!!

      • AtleticoUnionCity says:

        Well it is said that “love is blind”. Your love for your club is commendable, but you sir, are blind. Houston Dynamo are incredibly boring to watch. I truly hope they are eliminated not only because of your manager’s dull brand of futbol, but also due every year pissing away their CCL spot. They discredit MLS. Beated by Arabe Unido? Arabe Unido? Your genius manager can’t get a freakin point against Arabe Unido which would have taken Dynamo into the knockout rounds. Mediocre.

  3. Chris Hales says:

    One thing you know about Jason Kries team is they will not bunker in and try to get through the 90 without loosing. They will play for the win that is their best defense

  4. Neruda says:

    RSL have to posses the ball without giveaways. I think they go with the same lineup and look for saborio off the bench and use Ned as a sub. Rimando needs to be great again as he’ll be pressured more in jeld wen. It should turn into an open game and that’s great. Let’s go RSL!

  5. PD says:

    Second leg will be a great test for both sides. Really shaping up to be a great rivalry between these two teams.

  6. Rex says:

    Every watch at SKC game then another MLS game back to back? The other game is always so much better to watch? The fouling, the crying, the 5 min. set up for a throw in.

  7. turgid jacobian says:

    Wow, RSL came to play for sure. Return leg should be either entertaining or embarrassing!

  8. Bean says:

    I saw a match of terrible defending. Terrible defending =exciting match.

    • TomG says:

      Completely disagree. That was a match with aggressive, crisp passing midfields.

      • Bean says:

        You’d be surprised to see the passing percentages were not much higher than the HOU v SKC match.

        • AtleticoUnionCity says:

          I saw an entertaining match of futbol soccer between RSL and Portland. I saw a disgusting display of kickball soccer between Houston & Sporting. It was a total crapfest.

          • Bean says:

            I saw a soccer match with poor defending. At least there were goals, even though they were from ugly mistakes.

        • TomG says:

          Bean, you are obsessed with meaningless statistics and blind to anything remotely resembling truth. It’s easy to have high percentage passing when both teams are sitting back with ten men behind the ball, content to allow the other side to pass the ball around without challenge, duh. Come on, bean, use your bean.

          • Bean says:

            I can tell that you didn’t even watch the match nor look at Opta’s info. Neither team bunkered. It was a classic battle between two tough midfields. You are very wrong.

  9. OPMG says:

    I hope that late goal doesn’t come back to bite us. RSL has to be feeling confident based on the way they’ve played in Portland this season. RSL just has Portland’s number this year. I find this most satisfying mostly because I think Porter is so freaking arrogant. Porter is a good coach and he’ll have his day in the sun, not at the expense of Kreis though and not this year.

    • TomG says:

      You know he is arrogant because…..?

      • Adi from Oregon says:

        …. because he doesn’t know the difference between arrogance and confidence. Porter will have to use all of his confidence and talent and get the VERY best from his players to win at least by 2 at their “Soccer City” home field in front of their “Real/Royal” Portland fans. Then the Timbers hopefully will win in overtime or penalty kicks with their better goalie.

        • TomG says:

          That doesn’t even remotely come close to answering my question. What did he do or say that was arrogant? It sounds like you’re making stuff up.

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  11. Matt says:

    Timbers are toast. Hahahaha.

  12. Matt says:

    And their plastic pitch is going to be a big factor in them losing