Preview: RSL v. Portland Timbers

Claret-and-Cobalt look to stay unbeaten Saturday v. Portland

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake will returns home on Saturday, as it hosts Portland Timbers in a rematch of the 2013 Western Conference Final series. Saturday’s match kicks at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium and will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM.

Real Salt Lake continued its unbeaten start to the 2014 season last Saturday, tying 2-2 at Philadelphia Union. RSL is now the only unbeaten team remaining in MLS. Western Conference leaders FC Dallas were the only other undefeated side entering last weekend’s matches, but the Texas team lost 3-2 to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday night. Real Salt Lake has performed well on the road to start the season, despite allowing late equalizing goals in two of its road matches. The Claret-and-Cobalt has claimed a total of six points from its first four road matches of the season.

RSL is 1-0-1 at home this year, drawing LA Galaxy 1-1 in its home opener on March 22 and beating Toronto FC 3-0 on March 29 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Real Salt Lake has a successful history against the Portland Timbers, posting a 4-1-3 all-time regular season record and a 7-1-3 mark across all competitions against the Pacific Northwest side. The Claret-and-Cobalt and Portland met a total of six times in 2013, with RSL posting a 4-0-2 mark across all competitions against the Timbers. In MLS regular season action, RSL drew the Timbers 3-3 on Aug. 21 in Portland, won 4-2 on Aug. 30 at Rio Tinto Stadium and drew 0-0 on Oct. 19 at formerly named JELD-WEN Field. The teams also played in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal on Aug. 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium, with RSL topping the Timbers 2-1. RSL beat Portland in the 2013 Western Conference Final series, beating Portland 4-2 at home on Nov. 10 before winning the return leg 1-0 at Portland on Nov. 24 to take the series 5-2 on aggregate.

RSL had a very diverse attack against Portland last year, with nine different players scoring and seven different players assisting on a total of 14 goals in the Utah side’s six matches against the Timbers in 2013. RSL MF Javier Morales led the way for RSL with three goals; he was followed by FW Alvaro Saborio, FW Joao Plata and FW Robbie Findley with two goals each; FW Devon Sandoval, MF Luis Gil, DF Chris Schuler, DF Nat Borchers and MF Cole Grossman all had one tally against the Cascadia club. Beckerman, Morales and FW Joao Plata lead the way for RSL in assists against Portland, with three helpers each; MF Ned Grabavoy, Gil, Findley and Saborio all had one assist against Portland last year.

Real Salt Lake was hit with an early season injury bug, but the Claret-and-Cobalt will look to have the majority of its starting players back this week. RSL MF Sebastian Velasquez made his first appearance of 2014 against Philadelphia last Saturday, subbing on in the second half. Velasquez had been suffering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the first five matches of the 2014 season. The Claret-and-Cobalt will also hope to have Plata available; the speedy Ecuadorian has been sidelined due to a hamstring injury suffered in RSL’s 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy on March 22. RSL will most likely not have veteran GK Nick Rimando available for Saturday’s clash after he missed the last two regular season matches due to a knee injury picked up on international duty on April 2. RSL’s Gil is also still recovering from an injury picked up last week.

Portland Timbers enter Saturday’s match still looking for its first MLS win of the 2014 regular season. Last year’s Western Conference regular season points leaders are 0-2-4 record on the season, with their four points putting them in eighth place in the Western Conference. Despite the team’s slow start, there is much to be wary of as the Pacific Northwest side still claims the attacking threats of former RSL MF Will Johnson, Argentine playmaker MF Diego Valeri, FW/MF Darlington Nagbe, and FW Maximiliano Urruti.

A very limited number of tickets to the Portland match still remain; they can be purchased at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700.

How to Follow Real Salt Lake v. Portland Timbers

  • Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. MT v. Portland Timbers
  • TV: CW30
  • English Radio: ESPN700 AM (Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m. MT)
  • Spanish Radio: 102.3 La Gran D FM
  • Online: The @RealSaltLake Twitter Feed will provide match updates

Game Guide for Saturday’s RSL-POR Match Now Available Online

Click here to download the PDF version of the MLS Game Guide for Saturday’s RSL-POR matchup

RSL History v. Portland

Real Salt Lake has a successful history against the Portland Timbers, posting a 4-1-3 all-time regular season record and a 7-1-3 mark across all competitions against the Pacific Northwest side. The Claret-and-Cobalt and Portland met a total of six times in 2013, with RSL posting a 4-0-2 mark across all competitions. RSL drew the Timbers 3-3 on Aug. 21 in Portland, won 4-2 on Aug. 30 at Rio Tinto Stadium and drew 0-0 on Oct. 19 at formerly named JELD-WEN Field. The teams also played in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal on Aug. 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium, with RSL topping the Timbers 2-1. RSL beat Portland in the 2013 Western Conference Final series, beating Portland 4-2 at home on Nov. 10 before winning the return leg 1-0 at Portland on Nov. 24 to take the series 5-2 on aggregate. RSL is currently on a 10-game unbeaten streak against Portland, with the Claret-and-Cobalt’s lone loss to the Timbers coming in the first-ever game between the sides in Portland in April 2011.