TUCSON, Arizona – Real Salt Lake dropped a 1-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers in the club’s first preseason match against an MLS opponent on Thursday. A first-minute goal by Lucas Melano was the difference in the game as RSL fell to 1-2-0 in three preseason matches this year.
The match at FC Tucson’s Kino Sports Complex saw the debut of Sunday “Sunny” Stephen Obayan in the midfield and an un-named defender play the final 30 minutes while on trial. However, the match was marred by a first-half melee that saw one player ejected from both teams, although both teams were allowed to finish the match with 11 men.
The Timbers got out to a hot start with Dairon Asprilla led Melano into the box with a cross from the right side that skipped past Jack McInerney and Melano put it past Nick Rimando for a goal less than 30 seconds from kickoff to put RSL into a 1-0 deficit.
While Portland continued to apply pressure and got a handful of scoring chances, RSL got its first dangerous opportunity in the 20th minute when Juan Manuel Martinez carried the ball into the attack and fired a shot from the top of the box that narrowly missed over the crossbar.
In the 30th minute, an otherwise tranquil match turned fiery when Jermaine Taylor challenged Yura Movsisyan and Javier Morales from behind. The resulting melee led to ejections of Movsisyan and McInerney, though both teams were able to bring on substitutes to keep the match 11v11, as Devon Sandoval replaced Movsisyan five minutes after the incident and Ben Polk came on for McInerney.
That score remained through the first half, despite Salt Lake holding some dangerous possession and Portland attacking frequently on the counter.
In the 59th minute, Salt Lake got into the box after a misplayed clearance by Jake Gleeson. Juan Manuel Martinez and Joao Plata got out on the break and Martinez found Plata for a shot from the top of the box, but it skipped just wide.
After wholesale changes for RSL, the Claret-and-Cobalt had another chance off a set piece in the 71st minute. Olmes Garcia was pulled down just outside the box for the foul and on the free kick, Luke Mulholland missed just over the crossbar with the right-footed smash.
That would be the last good opportunity of the match as it concluded with Portland winning 1-0.
Real Salt Lake’s next match is Sunday at 11 a.m. MT at Kino Sports Complex against Seongnam FC from South Korea. The match will be streamed live on RSL.com.
REAL SALT LAKE 0-1 PORTLAND TIMBERS
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2016
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
Portland Timbers 1 0 1
POR: Lucas Melano (Dairon Asprilla) 1’
RSL: Kyle Beckerman (caution, foul) 23’
POR: Jermaine Taylor (caution, foul) 29’
RSL: Yura Movsisyan (ejection, fight) 30’
POR: Jack McInerney (ejection, fight) 30’
Real Salt Lake (4-3-3): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran (Chris Wingert, 60’), Jamison Olave (Justen Glad, 60’), Aaron Maund (Trialist, 60’), Demar Phillips (Max Lachowecki, 60’); Kyle Beckerman (John Stertzer, 60’), Sunday Stephen Obayan (Luke Mulholland, 60’), Javier Morales (Amass Amankona, 60’); Juan Manuel Martinez (Olmes Garcia, 60’), Yura Movsisyan (Devon Sandoval 33’), Joao Plata (Emery Welshman, 60’).
Portland Timbers (4-1-4-1): Jake Gleeson (Wade Hamilton 60’); Alvas Powell (Taylor Peay, 60’), Jermaine Taylor (Trevor Morley, 46’), Nat Borchers (Anthony Manning, 46’), Andy Thoma (Zarek Valentin, 60’); Diego Chara (Ben Zemanski, 60’); Dairon Asprilla (Neco Brett, 46’), Darlington Nagbe (Eric Avila, 60’), Diego Valeri (Jack Jewsbury, 46’), Lucas Melano (Trialist, 60’); Jack McInerney (Ben Polk, 31’).