RSL Falls To Portland 3-0; Playoff Hopes In Doubt

Oct 21, 2018, 7:30 PM | Updated: Oct 22, 2018, 11:26 am
Real Salt Lake forward Jefferson Savarino (7) fiores a shot between Portland Timbers defendes Jorge...
Real Salt Lake forward Jefferson Savarino (7) fiores a shot between Portland Timbers defendes Jorge Villafaña and Bill Tuiloma (25) during the Portland Timbers versus Real Salt Lake soccer match at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Steve Griffin/Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin/Deseret News)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The regular season finale featured the most important game of the year for Real Salt Lake, but they couldn’t get past the Portland Timbers, losing 3-0 on the road.

In order to clinch a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs, all that they needed to do was win.

RSL Trailed Early In The Match

Just 15 minutes into the game, on a free kick, Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri found defender Larrys Mabiala to put them up 1-0.

The goal left RSL eager to find the back of the net but couldn’t match the physicality of the Timbers in the first half.

“First half was a continuation of the last time we played them,” said head coach Mike Petke when asked about the first 45 minutes. Real lost to the Timbers at home on October 6, 4-1.

Real Salt Lake Aggressive In Second Half

They came out of the locker room pushing the ball forward in hopes of finding the equalizing goal. Defender Justen Glad had a point blank chance in the 52nd minute when he fired the ball at Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark, who made a tremendous save.

Eight minutes later, Clark would prevent RSL from scoring once again, this time off of a shot from midfielder Albert Rusnak.

Portland pulled away in the 68th minute when midfielder Diego Chara scored the Timbers second goal.

The game was put away for good in the 87th minute when forward Sebastian Blanco blasted his shot into the back of the net to give the Timbers the 3-0 win.

Petke wasn’t disappointed in his teams’ second half performance.

“Second half we turned it on, we had some clear cut chances and didn’t convert them,” he said. “We pushed some players forward with less guys in the back and then they got the third goal. Overall in the second half, I am proud of the guys,” said Petke.

Playoff Chances Very Slim

RSL finished the season with 49 points and currently hold the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are one point ahead of the LA Galaxy, who have one match remaining on October 28th at home against the Houston Dynamo.

The problem is that Houston is eliminated from playoff contention with 35 points and are playing for pride. According to Mike Petke, he realized that the chances are slim for RSL to reach the postseason.

“Now it’s a one in a million chance that we get to the playoffs,” Petke said.

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RSL Falls To Portland 3-0; Playoff Hopes In Doubt