PORTLAND, Oregon (Saturday, September 10, 2016) – Real Salt Lake dropped an 0-1 decision at Portland against the rival Timbers Saturday night, as FW Fanendo Adi’s 12th-minute goal was the difference and dropped RSL to 12-9-8 (44 points) on the season, sitting in 3rd place in the MLS Western Conference with five regular-season games remaining.
RSL nearly struck just 10 seconds into the match, as MF Jordan Allen – playing the center attacking midfield role for just the third time in his career, all this season – found FW Yura Movsisyan off the kickoff, the Armenian international playing back to the RSL homegrown for a shot that was snuffed out by the Timbers defense. Portland claimed its lead in the 12th minute, when a shot from atop the box was deflected down by DF Justen Glad, then skipped off the artificial surface to the feet of Adi, who gathered possession and rifled a shot into the back of the net for his 14th goal of the season and seventh all-time in seven matches against Real Salt Lake.
Portland’s goal was the sixth conceded by RSL in the first 15 minutes of matches, and the 14th allowed in the first half-hour as RSL continues to be haunted by the early concession. However, RSL does boast an MLS-best six wins and 22 points captured when falling behind. The Timbers would take six shots over the first 24 minutes before Salt Lake attempted its first shot and the Timbers held an 8-3 shot advantage for the first half. However, Adi’s was the only goal of the half and RSL went into the break trailing 0-1.
At halftime, MF Javier Morales came into the match for Allen, the “maestro” Morales nearly made his impact felt on a 65th minute free kick. After FW Juan Manuel Martinez was fouled just outside the box, Morales and FW Joao Plata lined up over the free kick. It was Morales to take it and his blast cleared the wall, but skimmed just over the crossbar and RSL remained in an 0-1 hole.
In the 74th minute, GK Nick Rimando came up with a huge save to keep the match close. Adi got on the end of a ball up the left side and held it enough to allow Diego Valeri into the box. Adi fed the midfielder the pass and Valeri went one-on-one with Rimando, only to have Major League Soccer’s all-time leader in wins, games, starts and shutouts stone his shot for the save to keep RSL within striking distance.
Morales was forced to come off in the 76th minute due to a right quadriceps injury, but RSL pressed forward as FW Olmes Garcia and MF Luke Mulholland offered fresh legs in the attack. Both players were critical in joining Martinez, Movsisyan and Plata in various sequences, the most dangerous of which came in the 87th minute. Movsisyan we set up by DF Demar Phillips on the left side of the box and was fouled, with RSL attempting to take advantage of a quick restart while numerous Timbers surrounded the referee. Phillips actually scored on the play, but the goal was disallowed.
RSL lost for the first time since April 30, 2011, at what is now Providence Park, also the site of the club’s last win on artificial surface. Back on Nov. 28, 2013, RSL captured the second leg of the Western Conference Final with a 1-0 road win over Portland. Tonight’s loss drops RSL to 8-26-18 all-time on fake grass, outscored 49-86.
Real Salt Lake returns home with a pair of matches at Rio Tinto Stadium against both MLS Texas teams each of the next two Saturdays, as the Houston Dynamo visit next Saturday and Supporters Shield / Western Conference leaders FC Dallas arrive on September 24, both contests critical to RSL’s playoff positioning. RSL plays three of its final five matches at home, where it is one of just four clubs – joining Dallas, Colorado and LA Galaxy, the teams with which it is battling for a playoff bye as the No. 1 or 2 seed in the West – unbeaten at home in 2016.
GAME NOTES – PORvRSL
– Saturday saw the return to the starting lineup for several RSL players. DF Chris Schuler made his first MLS start since July 11, 2015 against the Colorado Rapids. MF Jordan Allen made his first start since July 13 against the Vancouver Whitecaps. MF Sunny started for the first time since June 22 against the New York Red Bulls.
– RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman made his 372nd career MLS start tonight, joining Steve Ralston atop the all-time list for most starts by a field player. Beckerman already leads in games played (401) and minutes played (37,863).
PORTLAND TIMBERS 1-0 REAL SALT LAKE
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2016
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
Portland Timbers 1 0 1
POR: Fanendo Adi 12’
RSL: Sunday Stephen (Caution; Foul) 40’
POR: Liam Ridgewell (Caution; Foul) 51’
RSL: Javier Morales (Caution; Foul) 54’
RSL: Demar Phillips (Caution; Foul) 75′
POR: Jake Gleeson (Caution; Time-wasting) 86′
RSL: Joao Plata (Caution; Dissent) 90′
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert, Justen Glad, Chris Schuler, Demar Phillips; Kyle Beckerman, Sunday Stephen (Olmes Garcia 77’); Juan Manuel Martinez, Jordan Allen (Javier Morales 46’, Luke Mulholland 76’), Joao Plata; Yura Movsisyan.
Substitutes not used: Lalo Fernandez, Tony Beltran, Phanuel Kavita, John Stertzer.
Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1): Jake Gleeson; Alvas Powell (Jermaine Taylor 90′), Steven Taylor, Liam Ridgewell, Vytas; Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury; Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri (Ben Zemanski 92+’), Darren Mattocks (Ned Grabavoy 70’); Fanendo Adi.
Substitutes not used: Chris Konopka, Jack Barmby, Lucas Melano, Jack McInerney.
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson, Phillipe Briere
Fourth Official: David Gantar
Weather: Clear and 71