Matchday Preview: Timbers head to Utah to take on Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake will be seeking to take the full points and keep contact in a tight Western Conference race when they play host to the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real sit in a tie for third place in the West – where positions 2-4 are separated by just two points – after their last league match, a 1-0 loss at Houston. Portland, still looking for a first league away win this season, kicked off their road swing with a 2-2 draw at San Jose at midweek.
The Portland Timbers saw their road winless run extended in cruel circumstances, the San Jose Earthquakes scoring a late equalizer for a 2-2 draw Wednesday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Timbers are in a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with 29 points from 29 games.
Highlights: Timbers draw Quakes 2-2
- The Timbers opened the scoring in the 45th minute. Danny Mwanga and Rodney Wallace played a one-two in the middle of a stretched-out San Jose defense, Mwanga receiving the through ball, avoiding converging defenders and rounding goalkeeper Jon Busch to slide the ball into the empty net.
- Mwanga hit for his second in the 62nd minute, with a crackling 25-yard blast across the face of goal to the right upper corner. The play was set up by a 40-yard run through the midfield by Franck Songo’o, who slid the ball to Mwanga on the left.
- The Quakes began their fightback in the 73rd minute. Substitute Alan Gordon flicked on a long lead pass, and Steven Lenhart got a sliding touch on it to free another substitute, Chris Wondolowski, and he converted with his left foot from 16 yards.
- Then, as they have done all season, the Earthquakes hit for the winner in stoppage time. Sam Cronin flighted in a cross from deep on the left, and after an attempted clearance by Portland defender Hanyer Mosquera fell to Wondolowski, he nodded home an open header at the back point to rescue the point.
- Timbers interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson made five changes to the side that came back for a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at JELD-WEN Field. Joe Bendik came in between the posts for Donovan Ricketts, and Lovel Palmer, Steven Smith, Danny Mwanga and Kris Boyd came into the team for Kosuke Kimura, Diego Chara, Sal Zizzo and Bright Dike.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Lovel Palmer (Kosuke Kimura 83), Hanyer Mosquera, David Horst, Steven Smith - Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace, Jack Jewsbury, Franck Songo'o - Danny Mwanga (Eric Brunner 85), Kris Boyd (Bright Dike 18).
The Timbers saw their road record dip to 0-10-4, with three games remaining away from JELD-WEN Field, beginning with the RSL match. Four teams have gone winless on the road over a single season, last Vancouver in 2011.
Making his first start since July 21, Danny Mwanga scored his second career two-goal game, his first coming last May 28 while with Philadelphia Union, vs. Toronto FC.
“He was, for various reasons, very short on confidence coming out of Philadelphia, but he has worked hard in training and preformed very, very well off the bench the last few games,” said Wilkinson. “He deserved to start tonight, and his second goal was fantastic. He is a good finisher and he showed that tonight.”
Said Mwanga: “As a young player, you want to play .You want to play, and when you’re not doing that it can get a little frustrating. But once you get your opportunity to start again you have to make sure to make the most out of it. I was just really focused and excited coming in.”
After starting the Seattle game at left back, Rodney Wallace moved into a central midfield role and recorded his first MLS assist of the year.
Kris Boyd made his first start since Aug. 15, but was able to go just 18 minutes before he was forced to come off for a substitute.
With Donovan Ricketts sidelined 2-4 weeks with a shoulder separation, Joe Bendik made his first career MLS start between the posts.
“I think he did well. When you go up against San Jose, they have nothing to lose and they have three, four or five players forward and with Bendik in the box, he had lots of knockdowns and created havoc,” said Wilkinson. “I think Joe did well to manage the game.”
Lovel Palmer made his first start in 11 games, since July 14, coming in at right back.
“I think we did a good job. Our back line did a good job battling, but at the same time I think some of the calls, there is not much we can do about it,” said Mwanga. “But at the same time, we had a chance at the last minute, and I know for a fact that our team did a really good job and we just have to keep doing that.”
- Franck Songo’o recorded his fourth assist of the season, all since June 24. He has made six consecutive starts. “Franck has really started to take on a leadership role and I am really happy with him. He controls the ball and tempo of the game well and is technically gifted,” said Wilkinson. “It’s a matter of keeping him fit and healthy and continuing to develop him. But again, he has done very well the last few games.”
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake returns to league play for the first time since Sept. 6, their last match a 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Real sit in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 46 points from 28 games.
Highlights: RSL falls to Houston 1-0
- The Dynamo had a glorious opportunity to take the lead in the 75th minute. Macoumba Kandji squared a ball towards the center of the box for a streaking Will Bruin, where he was knocked to the ground by RSL defender Chris Schuler prompting referee Ismail Elfath to point to the spot. Brad Davis stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but goalkeeper Nick Rimando made a great diving save to his left.
- Just when it looked as though the teams would settle for the scoreless draw, Rimando made the mistake of rushing off his line to punch away a cross, only to run over Kandji in the process. This time it was Colin Clark who stepped up to take the spot kick and he drove the ball hard down the middle for the full three points.
- RSL head coach Jason Kreis made four changes to the team that defeated 1-0 D.C. United at Rio Tinto Stadium. Chris Schuler came into the back four for Chris Wingert, and Yordany Alvarez, Jonny Steele and Fabian Espindola came into the team with Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson and Alvaro Saborio away on international duty.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler - Ned Grabavoy, Yordany Alvarez, Jonny Steele - Javier Morales - Paulo Junior (Emiliano Bonfigli 46), Fabian Espindola (Luis Gil 83).
After putting an end to a four-game winless run with a home win against D.C. United, Real suffered their fourth loss in their last league games.
“Let’s be honest. We are not even in that position unless we have Nick Rimando in goal,” said RSL defender Nat Borchers. “He kept us in that game. He was the best player on the field. We just have to do better at closing out the games.”
The dramatic penalty was the second loss in the last four MLS games for RSL where the match-winner was scored in stoppage time, and snapped a nearly three-game shutout streak.
“I think we need to be honest with ourselves and say that Nick Rimando made a mistake. He came out for a ball that he probably does need to come out for,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “A player like that come probably makes one or two mistakes a year. He is holding his hands up in the locker room and on the field. He clearly knows he made a tactical judgment error but that is OK. He has saved us many points along the way so he will get a pass.”
With Will Johnson away on international duty with Canada, Jonny Steele made his first start since Aug. 4.
“I feel like when he has come off the bench, he's made a solid contribution every single time, and some of the games he's started he's done well, and some of the games he's started he hasn't done well,” said Kreis. “I still think he is adjusting to the pace of play. He's adjusting to how quickly things need to happen in transition going from offense to defense and defense to offense. He's also adjusting to the tremendous amounts of work it takes to play in our midfield."
Fabian Espindola also made his first start since Aug. 26, when he was taken off at halftime of the 2-1 loss to FC Dallas.
Since their last league match, RSL continued their CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a vital 1-0 win against Tauro FC in Panamá City, thanks to a stoppage-time penalty kick converted by Álvaro Sabório. Here’s the RSL team: Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran (Sebastian Velasquez, 81’); Ned Grabavoy; Jonny Steele (Luis Gil 60’), Will Johnson; Javier Morales; Fabían Espíndola (Paulo Jr., 76’), Álvaro Saborío
The result left Real with six points from three matches, level with Costa Rica’s CS Herediano (who have a match in hand). RSL and Herediano conclude CCL group play against each other Oct. 23.
Center back Jamíson Olave, who had not seen action since July 31 when he was injured in a CCL match vs. Herediano, returned to the lineup and played the full 90 minutes in Panamá.
“Olave is an extremely important players for us,” said Kreis. “I think he was one of the players out there that looked the most fatigued in my eyes, which is typical. It was his first game back, his first time to play 90 minutes in I think over two month, so it is going to take some time to build his soccer fitness where he can be effective and 100 percent for 90 minutes.”
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 229 games; FC/gm: 25.6; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 59; pens: 48
INJURY REPORT: REAL SALT LAKE – OUT: GK Lalo Fernandez (R wrist fracture); DF Kwame Watson-Siriboe (R adductor strain); PROBABLE: DF Jamison Olave (L hamstring strain); DF Chris Schuler (L foot bone bruise); DF Kenny Mansally (L knee MCL sprain) … PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: MF Diego Chara (L adductor strain); GK Donovan Ricketts (L shoulder separation); DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery); QUESTIONABLE: GK Jake Gleeson (R hand contusion); PROBABLE: MF Freddie Braun (abdominal strain); DF Andrew Jean-Baptiste (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Fabian Espindola, Javier Morales, Jamison Olave, Alvaro Saborio … POR: Jack Jewsbury
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Will Johnson, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Jonny Steele … POR: Kris Boyd, Hanyer Mosquera, Lovel Palmer, Kosuke Kimura, Diego Chara, Steven Smith, Franck Songo’o
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 4 goals … Real Salt Lake 2 wins, 7 goals … Ties 1
AT PORTLAND (1 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 1 goal … Real Salt Lake 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0 2012 (MLS) 3/31: RSL 3, POR 2 (Saborio 39; Steele 89; Beckerman 93+ -- Nagbe 48, 65) 7/7: RSL 3, POR 0 (Saborio 60, 64, 73)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. RSL won 3-2 on March 31 at JELD-WEN Field as Jonny Steele scored in the 89th minute and Kyle Beckerman hit for the winner in stoppage time. Real won 3-0 on July 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium behind a hat trick from Álvaro Sabório.
- Portland went undefeated vs. Real Salt Lake in two meetings in their inaugural MLS season, winning 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field and reaching a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. POR: P4 W2 L1 D1 … Gavin Wilkinson vs. RSL: first game
- Real Salt Lake finally broke through in the 60th minute. After collecting the ball outside the area, Kyle Beckerman floated a ball towards the penalty spot that Alvaro Saborío rose up to meet and flick into the corner of the Portland goal.
- Just two minutes later, Real and Saborío each had a second. Chris Wingert drove in a cross from the left flank and Saborio stretched forward to nod it past goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
- Things got testy in the 64th minute after a Diego Chara tackle on Javier Morales, and Chara was sent off nine minutes later after parrying Saborío’s header off the line with his left hand, and the score was 3-0 after Saborio converted the resulting penalty kick.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Kwame Watson-Siriboe 82), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy (Luis Gil 24), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Javier Morales - Paulo Junior (Emiliano Bonfigli 54), Alvaro Saborio.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-4-1): Troy Perkins - Kosuke Kimura, David Horst, Mamadou Danso, Steven Smith - Diego Chara (sent off 74) - Eric Alexander (Hanyer Mosquera 75), Lovel Palmer (Mike Fucito 68), Jack Jewsbury, Darlington Nagbe - Danny Mwanga (Kris Boyd 68)