The Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake gathered at Rio Tinto Stadium on a beautiful evening for the first leg of the 2013 MLS Playoffs Western Conference Final and it was Portland who drew first blood.
In the 14th minute, Timbers team captain Will Johnson lined up a free kick just outside the RSL 18-yard box. He calmly curled it around the wall and past an outstretched Nick Rimando to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead.
Real Salt Lake came back with some pressure. While Portland absorbed much of it, in the 35th minute Javier Morales served in a corner kick that defender Chris Schuler rose to snap a header past Donovan Ricketts.
In the 41st minute, RSL forward Robbie Findley dispossesed Timbers defender Futty Danso and broke for goal before slotting it into the back of the net. RSL took the lead 2-1.
Shortly after the second half began, RSL worked on a counter that produced their third goal of the night via Devon Sandoval.
While the Timbers kept pushing forward, they couldn't quite break through. Following a spectacular diving save from Ricketts, RSL lined up a corner and Morales found an opening to poke it through and make it 4-1.
But just before the final whistle, Jack Jewsbury carried the ball upfield and served a perfect cross into the mixer. Frederic Piquionne met it and snapped a header on frame and past a diving Rimando to give the TImbers some life ahead of the second leg at JELD-WEN Field on Nov. 24, 2013.