Sandy, Utah (October 19, 2019) – Real Salt Lake was dominant in the first half, then began to shrink in the second half. But once they regained their footing, Jefferson Savarino’s strike late in the second gave them the late lead and a deserved win.
Real Salt Lake Beat Timbers 2-1
RSL came out firing on all cylinders and got an early 1-0 lead thanks to a perfectly timed run off the back shoulder from Damir Kreilach. The Timbers were shellshocked for most of the first half and took forever to get into the match. Then, somehow as the snow came pouring down, the Timbers woke up.
They came out of the gates in the second half with their hair on fire. They were winning every challenge, and putting in dangerous service. Then that man, Dairon Asprilla popped up in the playoffs yet again, heading home inside the first five minutes of the second half to equalize. The Timbers would keep their storm coming but Rimando was mostly equal to the task.
The main reason the Timbers were still in the game was goalkeeper Steve Clark’s heroics in the first half to keep the game as close as possible. Granted, some of the situations they found themselves in were because of him, but his heroic diving save on a Brooks Lennon volley from distance was a massive moment in the match.
However, no moment was eventually bigger than Savarino’s winner, as he picked up the pass after an expert dummy at the top of the box from Sam Johnson. The ball trickled to him and his shot was low and hard, too hard for Clark to keep out and it sent RSL to the Conference Semi-Finals.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 20, 2019
- Real Salt Lake couldn’t keep the pressure at a high level for 90 minutes. They probably need to do a better job when they don’t have the ball. They looked disorganized at times in their press and defense tonight and facing a significantly better (than Portland) Seattle team on the road.
- Nick Rimando was awesome too. There was a ton of praise for Steve Clark in the section above, because he deserved it for keeping the Timbers in the match. But Rimando equally deserves a ton of praise and credit for helping RSL weather the storm and comeback attempt from Portland. His “superman” save on Blanco’s knuckler was one of the biggest moments of the match.
- The Timbers are on their way to a long offseason. With so many questions surrounding the soccer side of that organization heading into this offseason, one would think they might be at the end of their ropes. There is a high chance that Valeri doesn’t return next year, and they’re left with two older pieces (Blanco, Chara) who at some point will begin to become less influential. Their future hinges on what the technical staff does with the squad this offseason.
Real Salt Lake will travel to play the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night in their single-elimination playoff match for the Western Conference Semis. Game time is TBA.