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Real Salt Lake - Portland Timbers
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Real Salt Lake Returns Experienced Duo For Fixture Against In Form Timbers

Sam Johnson (2R) #50 of Real Salt Lake celebrates after scoring a goal in the 95th minute to tie the game 4-4 against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on August 29, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake is plummeting down the Western Conference as the games become more and more important in the fight for playoff promotion.

RSL has lacked confidence over their recent run of poor form. It has been three weeks, or, five matches since RSL picked up their last three points and the challenge does not get any easier for RSL as they host the Portland Timbers this evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Timbers Yet To Be Stopped

The Timbers are on fire. Unlike RSL, the Timbers have won their last five MLS matches and are sitting comfortably atop the Western Conference tied on 30 points with Seattle Sounders. Over the five-game win streak, Portland has scored a combined 17 goals including two batches of six-goal games against LA Galaxy and San Jose.

Portland plays with fluidity. They are smooth and creative on the ball and demand the utmost respect from their opponents.

The Timbers do not lack class and skill either. Diego Valeri, Jeremy Ebobisse, Diego Chara, Sebastián Blanco and Felipe Mora are all capable of punishing teams. You could argue that the Timbers currently have the most versatile attack in Major League Soccer. 

Timbers manager Giovanni Savarese has utilized a number of different formations in 2020 from a 4-4-2 to a 4-4-1-1 to a more recent 4-2-3-1. The Timbers are unique in the sense that they are always changing the way they defend and attack opposing teams based on personnel.

The last time RSL and the Timbers clashed it made for brilliant television as RSL came back scoring two stoppage-time goals to pinch a 4-4 draw at Providence Park.

Savarese opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation the last time the two teams met. Juarez also stuck with his traditional 4-2-3-1 formation as well.

Despite the negative attention surrounding RSL, the club remains just one point shy of the playoff cut line. The race for the playoffs in the West is tight and the importance of taking care of business at home is exaggerated with just a handful of games remaining.

It is no secret that performing on the road is a challenge for MLS clubs, the emphasis has always been to secure three points at home whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Big Names Return For RSL

Well, with RSL currently on the outside looking in, the match against Portland will be the third last time that they get to enjoy the luscious grass of Rio Tinto Stadium in 2020. RSL only has five regular-season matches remaining in 2020.

If the club hopes to securely make the playoffs, this evening’s match against Portland is an ideal time to pick up points against one of the conferences best teams.

Fortunately, RSL is bolstered by the return of Nedum Onuoha and Everton Luiz.

The center back remains an integral piece of the RSL puzzle as his leadership will be needed for the club to secure a playoff spot over the remaining five fixtures. While Luiz offers a formidable force and wrecking ball in the middle of the park. Both players bring multiple years of experience and leadership to the table for RSL during a time when leadership and calm heads are very much required.

Giussepe Rossi and Chris Garcia remained on the injured list.

Match Info

Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. this evening, Wednesday, October 14th.

You can stream the game for free on KSLSports.com or by on the KSL TV app.