Real Salt Lake Host Timbers As Pressure Mounts

May 16, 2023, 2:15 PM


Rubio Rubin attempts a shot against LAFC in the 3-0 loss at America First Field on May 13, 2023. (Photo by Laura Dearden/Real Salt Lake)

(Photo by Laura Dearden/Real Salt Lake)

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake will host the Portland Timbers midweek at American First Field as the pressure mounts on RSL to score goals.

The fixture will mark the second clash between the two sides in a week following the 4-3 Real Salt Lake victory in the U.S. Open Round of 32 at Providence Park on May 10.

During the U.S. Open victory, Real Salt Lake came from behind twice to eventually beat the Timbers, in large thanks to a Maikel Chang second-half brace.

Since then, Real Salt Lake suffered a 3-0 defeat at home to LAFC while Portland managed to defeat Vancouver 3-1 at home.

Growing Concerns At Real Salt Lake

Concerns at Real Salt Lake are growing at the inability to score goals. Real Salt Lake has endured three consecutive fixtures without scoring a single goal. On the season the club has only scored 10 goals from 11 games which is tied second worst in the Western Conference only behind Sporting Kansas City who sit at the bottom of the conference. Real Salt Lake has also conceded 20 goals – the most goals in the conference.

In comparison, the Portland Timbers have scored 18 goals from 12 games played and sit comfortably inside the playoff cut-line in sixth position.

Real Salt Lake’s dilemma comes following the off-season departures of Sergio Cordova and Bobby Wood. Both Cordova and Wood, despite both suffering injuries throughout the season combined for 12 goals in 2022. The club never replaced that production and instead bet on Rubio Rubin to return to his form of 2021 when he managed 8 goals from 34 games played.

Sadly, Rubin has struggled mightily in front of goal since struggling with injury and minutes in 2022. Since 2021, Rubin has played over 1700 minutes for Real Salt Lake and only managed to score one goal. His inability to finish clear cut chances is costing Real Salt Lake and the frustration is starting to have a noticeable impact on his teammates. During last weekends loss to LAFC, Rubin has a fantastic opportunity to level the score but failed to control the bounce of the ball with his chest and ultimately never got a shot off on goal. Immediately following, Jefferson Savarino dropped his head, muttered words under his breath, and shook his head in frustration.

The pressure on Rubin is starting to become unbearable.

Furthermore, Real Salt Lake will be without Diego Luna starting on May 20 as he departs for the U-20 World Cup which will be hosted in Indonesia. The event will keep Luna away from the club for multiple weeks.

Fortunately, Real Salt Lake continues to gain health following a stretch that sidelined multiple key players. Club captain Damir Kreilach is working his way back to full fitness while Anderson Julio returned following a hamstring concern last match against LAFC.

Match Info

Real Salt Lake and Portland will kickoff from America First Field at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17. The match will be broadcast via Apple TV and will be heard via the RSL Network on The KSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM & 1280 AM).


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Real Salt Lake Host Timbers As Pressure Mounts