Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C), Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil (72': Sebastian Velasquez), Javier Morales; Joao Plata (61': Robbie Findley), Alvaro Saborio
Substitutions not used: Eduardo Fernandez, Abdoulie Mansally, Brandon McDonald, Cole Grossman, Devon Sandoval
Portland Timbers (3-4-3): Donovan Ricketts (C); Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Rauwshan McKenzie, Michael Harrington, Ben Zemanski; Kalif Alhassan, Diego Valeri (32': Alvas Powell), Diego Chara; Darlington Nagbe (74': Sal Zizzo), Ryan Johnson (46': Jose Adolfo Valencia), Rodney Wallace
Substitutions not used: Milos Kocic, Mamadou Danso, Bright Dike, Steven Evans
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (14-8-6, 48 points, West #1) steamrolled past the 10-man Portland Timbers (9-5-12, 39 points, West #4) on Saturday night, topping the Cascadia club 4-2 in front of a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
MF Luis Gil, FW Joao Plata, MF Javier Morales and FW Alvaro Saborio scored for Real Salt Lake, which improved to 2-0-1 in three August matches against Portland with the win. The victory extends the Claret-and-Cobalt’s lead in the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference races, putting the Utah side seven points ahead of the Montreal Impact in the MLS table and eight points up on the LA Galaxy in the West.
Gil scored his second goal in as many games to give RSL the lead in the ninth minute. Captain Kyle Beckerman started the play, finding Plata at the top of the box. The diminutive forward played a fantastic flick to put Gil through in the right side of the box, where the U.S. Under-20 international took a touch and buried a 10-yard effort inside the far post.\
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis
On what was different about this particular RSL-POR match:
“Obviously, it was a fantastic start with two goals in the first fifteen minutes – the tempo, the play in the first half, what we were able to do to get at them early on – it changed the whole landscape of the match. Interestingly enough, the played with three defenders at the beginning, which I think had some tactical consequences.”
On the fear of a letdown after last week’s 4-0 win over Columbus:
“I really wasn’t [worried], but typically I am. I think, right now, we’re at that time of year where I don’t think you have to be too worried about motivating the players or getting them to respond after too good of a game or too bad of a game. I think that we all know what’s in front of us. The opportunity has presented itself for us, and I think that should mean that every game will get our maximum effort.”
On his team’s ability to turn incisive passes in the box into goals:
“When someone has a foot on the ball in the box, they’ve been clinical. For me, that’s oftentimes the difference between the absolute best teams and the mediocre ones. What happens around the box is typically clinical for the best teams. Tonight, those first two opportunities – [Joao] Plata’s shot and [Luis] Gil’s shot – were fantastic.”