After numerous clashes last season, the Portland Timbers have their first 2014 battle with Real Salt Lake on Saturday (6:30pm PT, KPTV). Does familiarty breed contempt? Here's five numbers to ponder with that question for the matchup at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Eighty six - Percent of successful passes by Timbers midfielder Will Johnson. On Saturday, Johnson will be the most accurate passer on the field among players with more than four games played. Only RSL's Kyle Beckerman has more total successful passes though his completion rate is only 79%.
360 – Amount of duels the Timbers have won this season, which leads the league. A duel is defined as any instance in a game which involves a 1-v-1 situation between two opposing players (a 50-50 aerial challenge, 1-v-1 dribble, fouls committed/suffered). Darlington Nagbe leads MLS with 60 duels won and a success rate of 62.5 percent, which is best among players with at least 60 total duels.
Six – Times the Timbers and Real Salt Lake met last season, which includes three regular-season matches, the U.S. Open Cup semifinals and two matches in the Western Conference Championship. The teams will play at least three times this season, making that at least nine matches over the course of two seasons.
221 – Consecutive minutes without allowing a goal registered by goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts this season. Following a 19th-minute penalty kick by Chicago’s Jeff Larentowicz on Mar. 16, Ricketts did not concede a goal for the remaining 71 minutes of the match. He then shutout Colorado for 73 minutes before drawing a red card against Colorado on Mar. 22. Upon his return, Ricketts denied Chivas USA for 79 minutes until their equalizer. Entering this weekend, Ricketts' 221-minute shutout streak from March 16 through April 12 is the longest in MLS by an individual goalkeeper this season.
5 – Timbers goals that have come from outside the penalty area so far this season. Portland's attacking players are unafraid to shoot from distance and their ability to score from outside the box creates danger for opposing teams as soon as they enter the attacking third.