Meetings between Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers have never lacked for excitement, with the two teams producing open-ended, high-scoring matches ever since the Timbers joined MLS in 2011. The meetings went up a notch last year, with then-rookie Portland Head Coach Caleb Porter bringing an RSL-like possession style to the Timbers.
Real Salt Lake has had great success against the Cascadia side, posting a 7-1-3 all-time record against the Timbers across all competitions, with RSL’s sole loss coming in the teams’ first-ever encounter in April 2011. RSL and Portland had a couple of high-stakes matchups last year, meeting in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal on Aug. 7, with the Claret-and-Cobalt pulling off a 2-1 victory to advance to the USOC Final. RSL and the Timbers then went on to meet in the 2013 Western Conference Final series, with RSL defeating Portland 4-2 in the first leg and earning a 1-0 win in the second leg on the road to advance to MLS Cup 2013.
The team truly is the star when it comes to Real Salt Lake’s success against Portland, as nine different RSL players scored against the Timbers in 2013 alone, and 10 current Claret-and-Cobalt players have scored against Portland in their career. Not surprisingly, RSL’s most prolific scorer against Portland is forward Alvaro Saborio, who has seven goals and one assist in seven games against the Oregon side. RSL maestro Javier Morales has also been excellent against Portland, posting four goals and five assists in 10 meetings against the Timbers. And it’s not just all about the goals – seven different RSL players had assists against Portland in 2013, and eight current RSL players have assists against Portland all-time.
Let’s hope RSL can continue its unbeaten streak on Saturday and get even more Claret-and-Cobalt players on the scoreboard.
Here’s a full breakdown of current RSL players with goals and/or assists against the Timbers:
Kyle Beckerman: 1 goal, 4 assists – 9 games
Nat Borchers: 1 goal – 11 games
Robbie Findley: 2 goals, 1 assist – 6 games
Luis Gil: 1 goal, 2 assists – 9 games
Ned Grabavoy: 1 goal – 10 games
Cole Grossman: 1 goal – 1 game
Javier Morales: 4 goals, 5 assists – 10 games
Joao Plata: 1 goal, 3 assists with RSL, 1 assist with Toronto FC – 6 games
Alvaro Saborio: 7 goals, 1 assist – 7 games
Devon Sandoval: 1 goal – 2 games
Chris Schuler: 1 goal – 4 games
Chris Wingert: 1 assist – 10 games
Real Salt Lake owned the Portland Timbers last year, posting a dominant 4-0-2 record in six matches across all competitions against the Cascadia club. RSL and the Timbers will face off for the first time in 2014 on Saturday, when Will Johnson, Caleb Porter and co. will come to Rio Tinto Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. MT kickoff.
The best of the six RSL-Portland games in 2013 came in the Western Conference Final series, which Real Salt Lake won 5-2 on aggregate on the back of a 4-2 win at home on Nov. 10 and a 1-0 win at Portland on Nov. 24. Highlights of those triumphant victories are below. Check them out before Saturday’s big tilt at The RioT.
First Leg: RSL 4-2 Portland
Second Leg: RSL 1-0 (5-2) Portland
The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17’s picked up quite the result in the Generation adidas Cup in Dallas on Tuesday night, topping a youth side from English Premier League club Stoke City in a penalty kick shootout after dramatically tying 2-2 in regulation.
RSL twice fell behind on Tuesday night, conceding in the sixth minute when Stoke attacker and Belgian youth international Julien Ngoy cleaned up a rebound to finish from just outside the box. RSL equalized in the 55th minute, when substitute Leo Fuchs unleashed a fantastic drive into the top right corner. The celebration was vintage RSL, with Fuchs and his teammates running over to a team from Layton-based La Roca Futbol Club – in town for the Dallas Cup – for a chorus of the “Believe” anthem.
RSL controlled the rest of the second half, but Stoke pulled ahead in the 70th and final minute, when forward Charles Weston-Hayles took advantage of a goalmouth scramble to pop a shot past RSL goalkeeper Christian Herrera. It looked like Stoke would take all three points, but RSL refused to give up, equalizing in the third and final minute of stoppage time. Newly signed Homegrown defender Justen Glad began the play, sending an excellent long ball over the top to forward Tate Schmitt on the right. Schmitt controlled and cut into the box, hitting a left-footed effort that took a deflection and rolled just across the goal line. Schmitt’s goal – which unleashed another wild celebration – turned out to be the final kick of regulation.
The Claret-and-Cobalt then turned their attention to the penalty kick shootout, with Herrera making one save and Aaron Herrera converting the final shot to give RSL a 4-2 victory. Another wild celebration followed the clinching PK, with La Roca players storming the field and converging with the RSL U-17’s in a raucous, bouncing mass in the penalty area. Such a fantastic moment for the RSL Family.
— Nick Rimando (@NickRimando) April 16, 2014
You can watch the entire match above. The real fun starts at the 1 hour, 24 minute mark, with the game tied 1-1 and Stoke about to pull ahead.
The shootout win keeps RSL in first-place in Group B of the GA Cup’s International Division, giving the Claret-and-Cobalt five points through two games. RSL is one point ahead of second-place Stoke, and two points ahead of third-place LA Galaxy. RSL will wrap group play on Thursday, taking on the Galaxy at 5:00 p.m. MT.
The three group winners from the International Division and the top second-place team will advance to the GA Cup Semifinals, which will be played on Friday. The GA Cup Final will be played on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. MT.
MLSsoccer.com is in the midst of running its "Generations" video series, a sequence of videos looking at the past, present and future of MLS's Generation adidas and Homegrown players. RSL midfielder Jordan Allen featured in the latest Generations spot, with the Rochester, N.Y. native talking about his decision to join the Claret-and-Cobalt academy, his decision to go to University of Virginia, signing with the first-team this offseason and more.
Chicago Fire Homegrown Harrison Shipp and San Jose Homegrown Tommy Thompson are also featured in the video. It's an interesting look at three of the top young players in the league. Give it a watch above.
The Real Salt Lake-Academy U-17’s won their Generation adidas Cup final round opener on Monday, getting goals from Josh Doughty and Sebastian Saucedo to defeat Toronto FC 2-1 in Dallas. New RSL Homegrown signing Justen Glad played the full 70 minutes in RSL’s victory on Monday, as he continues to help the Academy teams close out their season before heading up to Salt Lake City full-time this summer.
The win puts RSL in a tie for first in Group B of the tournament’s International Division, tied on top with a youth side from English Premier League club Stoke City. The premier bracket at the GA Cup, the International Division features three groups of four teams, with each group featuring three MLS sides and one international team.
Widely considered one of the tournament favorites, RSL will continue GA Cup play on Tuesday night, when it will take on Stoke at 7:00 p.m. MT in a battle of the top two teams in Group C. Tuesday’s match will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com. RSL will conclude GA Cup Group B play on Thursday, when it will take on LA Galaxy at 5:00 p.m. MT.
The three International Division group winners and the top second-place team in the International Division will advance to the Semifinals, which will be played on Friday. The GA Cup Final will take place on Sunday.
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando recently shot a commercial with RSL partner Zions Bank, with the pair playing a little office soccer set to some Samba music.
We think the spot turned out pretty great. Give it a watch above.
Another win for the U.S. U-20’s, another strong performance by a Real Salt Lake player.
Forward Benji Lopez helped the U-20’s to a 3-0 Dallas Cup win over a youth side from Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday, starting and scoring the Americans’ first goal in their victory over the German club. Lopez’s performance came one day after midfielder Jordan Allen notched two assists in the U.S.’s 3-2 win over a River Plate youth side in its Dallas Cup opener on Sunday.
Allen and Lopez were called to the U-20’s last week for the Dallas Cup. The U.S. will play its final Dallas Cup Gordon Jago Super Group match on Wednesday, taking on a youth team from Mexican club Tigres UANL.
— Benji Lopez (@Theonlybenji_11) April 14, 2014
The U.S. currently sits in first place in Bracket C of the Gordon Jago Super Group, three points ahead of second-place River Plate. The three Bracket winners and the top second-place team of the three brackets will advance to the Dallas Cup semifinals, which will be played on Friday.
Real Salt Lake’s Jordan Allen and Benji Lopez began their stint with the U.S. Under-20 national team on the right foot on Sunday, with Allen starting and registering two assists in the U.S.’s 3-2 Dallas Cup win over Argentine side River Plate. Lopez did not feature for the U.S.
Allen helped the U.S. get off to a great start in the 15th minute, playing a perfect pass to the penalty spot to forward Ben Spencer, who converted the chance to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. River Plate hit back with two first half goals to take a 2-1 lead into the break, but Allen helped pull the U.S. even with a 74th minute assist to Rubio Rubin to make it 2-2. The U.S. scored the winner in the 78th minute, when Spencer scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-2.
The U.S. will continue Dallas Cup play on Monday, when it will take on German club Eintracht Frankfurt at 3:00 p.m. MT.
Real Salt Lake will look to extend its unbeaten start to the season on Saturday, when it will take on Philadelphia Union at 2:00 p.m. MT on ABC 4.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s contest:
Real Salt Lake undefeated against Philadelphia Union
Real Salt Lake and Philadelphia Union have met a total of six times in Major League Soccer history, with the Claret-and-Cobalt never losing to its Eastern Conference foe. RSL has a 2-0-4 record against the Union, with the two sides tying their last two league meetings. Although RSL is undefeated against the Union, the Claret-and-Cobalt have yet to win at PPL Park, tying every match played there. Both of Real Salt Lake’s wins over Philly came at home, with RSL defeating Philadelphia 3-0 in the club’s first ever meeting on May 8, 2010 at Rio Tinto Stadium and claiming a 2-1 win on Sept. 3, 2011 at the RioT.
Attinella likely to fill in for Rimando for second-straight match
With RSL veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando still recovering from a knee injury, backup ‘keeper Jeff Attinella will likely start on Saturday in his absence. The Florida native started against Sporting Kansas City last weekend in his first appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2014, turning in a stellar, eight save performance to keep the shutout and earn a 0-0 draw. The scoreless draw marked Attinella’s second MLS career clean sheet. The 25-year-old made a total of five appearances in 2013, posting a 1-2-1 record and earning one shutout. Rimando missed RSL’s last match against Philadelphia while with the U.S. national team for CONCACAF Gold Cup duty – Josh Saunders started in his place.
The goalkeeper connection – Attinella and MacMath go way back
The relationship between Attinella and Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath goes way back, with the pair first meeting each other during their days at Tampa-area youth club Clearwater Chargers. Attinella and MacMath faced off against each other several times while in high school, with Attinella – then a senior – usually leading Countryside High over MacMath – who was only a freshman – and St. Petersburg HS. Should Attinella play on Saturday, it would mark the first time the Florida-area natives would face off against each other as pros.
Real Salt Lake looks to remain undefeated in 2014
Real Salt Lake enters Saturday’s match undefeated through its first five MLS regular season matches. RSL boasts a 2-0-3 record for a total of nine points, placing the Claret-and-Cobalt second in the Western Conference – four points behind MLS leaders FC Dallas. RSL is just one of two unbeaten teams in MLS, with Dallas – which hosts Seattle on Saturday – currently the only other squad without a loss. Three of RSL’s first five matches have been on the road, with the Claret-and-Cobalt earning a win and two draws as the visiting side. The Claret-and-Cobalt has a win and a draw at home – defeating Toronto FC 3-0 on March 29 and tying LA Galaxy 1-1 in its home opener on March 22.