Playoff Preview: RSL at Portland Timbers

Claret-and-Cobalt ready for West Championship second leg

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (West #2) will face Portland Timbers (West #1) in the second leg of the Western Conference Championship series on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at JELD-WEN Field. Sunday’s match will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and locally on ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM/1600 AM.

Sunday’s match will be the second and final leg of the Western Conference Championship series between Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers. Real Salt Lake took the first leg, defeating the Timbers 4-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Nov. 10. The winner of the RSL-Portland Western Conference Championship will advance to MLS Cup 2013, which will be played on Saturday, Dec. 7 against the winner of the Houston Dynamo-Sporting Kansas City Eastern Conference Championship series.

If Portland and RSL are tied on aggregate at the end of regulation on Sunday, the teams will play two, 15-minute extra time periods. If the teams remain tied following extra time, the series will be decided by a penalty kick shootout.

Sunday’s second leg match up will be the second ever playoff meeting between the two clubs and sixth overall meeting in all competitions this calendar year. The Claret-and-Cobalt is 3-0-2 against Portland in all competitions this year, drawing both matches at JELD-WEN Field. RSL went 1-0-2 against the Timbers in the 2013 MLS regular season, drawing 3-3 on Aug. 21 in Portland, winning 4-2 on Aug. 30 at Rio Tinto Stadium and drawing 0-0 on Oct. 19 at JELD-WEN Field. The teams also played in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Aug. 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium, a 2-1 RSL victory.

Real Salt Lake is unbeaten in its last nine matches across all competitions against Portland Timbers. RSL is 6-1-3 all-time against the Oregon side, with the Claret-and-Cobalt’s lone loss against the Timbers coming in the first-ever meeting between the sides at JELD-WEN Field on April 30, 2011. The Claret-and-Cobalt has posted a 1-1-2 record at JELD-WEN Field all-time.

Real Salt Lake’s first leg win over Portland featured goals from DF Chris Schuler, FW Robbie Findley, FW Devon Sandoval and MF Javier Morales. Findley continues to be RSL’s all-time leading scorer in the postseason with five career playoff goals, while Schuler is RSL’s top scorer in the 2013 postseason with two goals. Claret-and-Cobalt playmaker Javier Morales will look to continue his success against the Timbers on Sunday. The Argentine has three goals and three assists against Portland Timbers in three games played in 2013, and four goals and five assists against the Oregon side all-time.

Real Salt Lake will be without the services of DF Chris Wingert on Sunday due to a fractured rib and pneumothorax suffered in the first leg against Portland at Rio Tinto Stadium on Nov. 10. Wingert was subbed off in the first half of the first leg due to the injury, getting replaced by DF Lovel Palmer.

Sunday’s match will not be the first time that Real Salt Lake has taken a two-goal lead into the second leg of a tournament. In the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals, RSL defeated Costa Rican club Saprissa 2-0 at home in the first leg, and then travelled to Alvaro Saborio’s former club for the second leg, losing 1-2 but advancing by an aggregate score of 3-2 to face Monterrey in the CCL Final. The Claret-and-Cobalt has only lost by two goals three times this year – March 23 at FC Dallas, April 27 against the LA Galaxy,  and Sept. 13 at Seattle Sounders FC.

Portland Timbers have posted an impressive home record this year, going 14-1-5 at JELD-WEN Field throughout the 2013 MLS regular season.

How to Follow Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers

  • Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. MT at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Ore.
  • TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes
  • English Radio: ESPN 700 AM (Pregame begins at 6:00 p.m. MT)
  • Spanish Radio: La Gran D 102.3 FM & Juan 1600 AM
  • Online: The @RealSaltLake Twitter Feed will provide live match updates

RSL History v. Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake is 4-1-3 all-time in regular season play against Portland and 6-1-3 in all competitions against the Timbers. The Claret-and-Cobalt is 1-1-2 all-time against Portland at JELD-WEN Field. RSL’s lone loss against the Timbers came in the first-ever meeting between the sides at JELD-WEN Field on April 30, 2011.

RSL went 1-0-2 against Portland in the 2013 MLS regular season, drawing the Timbers 3-3 on Aug. 21 in Portland, winning 4-2 on Aug. 30 at Rio Tinto Stadium and drawing 0-0 on Oct. 19 at JELD-WEN Field. The teams also played in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Aug. 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium, a 2-1 RSL victory.