Adam Fondren, Deseret News
Real Salt Lake midfielder Albert RusnÁk (11) shoots for the primary purpose of the primary part because the Portland Timbers tackle Real Salt Lake in Sandy Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.
SANDY — Real Salt Lake is again within the thick of the MLS playoff dialog.
The membership’s gradual and stable march again into the image were given its greatest spice up but on Saturday evening when it knocked off first-place Portland 2-1 in entrance of 19,677 fanatics at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The victory moved RSL right into a three-way tie, along side Houston and FC Dallas, for 6th position within the Western Conference standings with 38 points.But the groups are trending in reverse instructions. Houston is 1-3-3 over its previous seven fits whilst FC Dallas is Zero-Five-Four over its remaining 9.
But the groups are trending in reverse instructions.Houston is 1-3-3 over its previous seven fits whilst FC Dallas is Zero-Five-Four over its remaining 9.
RSL, in the meantime, is 6-2-3 since July Four and has climbed from 10th position to 6th right through that reach. Only league-leading Toronto has received extra video games than RSL since early July.
“If the season would’ve started halfway through we’d maybe be in the No. 1 spot. Ever since half of the season has been gone we’ve been playing unbelievably, one of the best soccer in the whole league. We do have to make up for that bad start,” mentioned RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak.
Despite hiking into 6th position with the win on Jefferson Savarino’s game-winner within the 61st minute, RSL nonetheless wishes some assist to make the playoffs.
Houston and FC Dallas have every performed two fewer video games than Real Salt Lake, which provides them a pair extra probabilities to pick out up points.
RSL returns to motion subsequent Saturday in opposition to Seattle. After that, it performs back-to-back highway video games at Los Angeles and Colorado earlier than finishing the season at house in opposition to Sporting Kansas City. Each recreation is a digital will have to 3 points.
Quick begins find it irresistible had Saturday would move far towards undertaking that purpose.
Real Salt Lake’s early-game defensive woes had been well-documented previous this season, and that used to be compounded through the truth that it rarely scored its personal early targets.
That wasn’t an issue on Saturday.For simply the 3rd time all season Real Salt Lake discovered the again of the online within the opening 15 mins of a fit with Rusnak uncorking a 30-yard cannon that Portland keeper Jeff Attinella couldn’t maintain because it deflected off his outstretched fingers and into the purpose for the early 1-Zero lead.
For simply the 3rd time all season Real Salt Lake discovered the again of the online within the opening 15 mins of a fit with Rusnak uncorking a 30-yard cannon that Portland keeper Jeff Attinella couldn’t maintain because it deflected off his outstretched fingers and into the purpose for the early 1-Zero lead.
The 14th-minute purpose tied Rusnak for the workforce lead with seven. He celebrated through grabbing the ball, sticking it below his blouse after which sucking his thumb as a gesture to his pregnant female friend who’s due quickly with their first kid.
Portland got here out and performed very top power early, and RSL used to be a bit of sloppy with the ball and struggled a bit of to play out of the again. Ironically sufficient, whilst the Timbers pressed arduous to power an early giveaway, it used to be their very own giveaway within the midfield that led to Rusnak’s purpose.
“After the first goal we all got settled in a little and everyone was more confident and we could play to our strategy,” mentioned Rusnak.
Luis Silva had a really perfect probability to double the lead within the 30th minute however his close-range shot used to be became away through Attinella.
Eight mins later, Attinella’s mentor got here up giant too as Nick Rimando denied Portland’s Diego Valeri with an acrobatic diving save. The rebound went instantly to an unmarked Dairon Asprilla best about 8 yards from purpose however extremely he shanked what will have to’ve been a very easy end previous the some distance put up.
Valeri and Asprilla each redeemed themselves simply two into the second one part although. Valeri discovered a pocket of house between defenders Tony Beltran and Marcelo Silva and used to be in best possible place to head in an Asprilla pass.
Valeri has now scored in 8 instantly video games, a brand new MLS report, and he has 18 targets at the season.
Real Salt Lake used to be compelled to make an damage alternate within the 56th minute when Yura Movisyan got here on for Luis Silva who exited the sport with a groin damage.
With the momentum moving Portland’s manner, Jefferson Savarino got here to the rescue with an elegant end within the 61st minute. His curling left-footed shot from the brink of the penalty space snuck simply within the higher nook of the online giving RSL the 2-1 lead.
“Big-time players show up in big moments,” mentioned RSL trainer Mike Petke. “Jefferson stepped up and he made a big-time play because he’s a big-time player and it was a big relief because it almost looked like with the many opportunities we had in the first half (and missed) you start thinking, here we go again.”
Portland had a number of unhealthy moments within the remaining part hour, however a key save through Rimando on a Valeri loose kick overdue within the recreation helped maintain the crucial victory.