SANDY, UT. - The Portland Timbers faced a veritable onslaught from Real Salt Lake, but weathered the storm and stole the full three points late.
Portland got the win over RSL thanks to a stoppage-time header from none other than Nat Borchers. RSL had every opportunity to grab the full three points, but were stymied by the Timbers defense on every single opportunity. Portland scored the game-winning goal in the 95th minute of stoppage time, which Borchers refused to celebrate out of respect to his former club.
It was the final corner kick of the night. Portland midfielder Diego Valeri sent a ball in to the penalty spot and Borchers headed the ball off the bounce and into the opposite corner of the net, the very definition of smash and grab.
RSL had multiple chances to open the scoring and take a lead over the visiting Timbers in the first half. The home team out-possessed, outshot and outworked Portland for the entirety of the first half but had nothing on the scoreboard to show for it.
Three great chances fell to the foot of RSL forward Sebastian Jaime: one from six yards out, another from 12 yards out, and finally the last from the top of the penalty area. He was unable to keep any of them on target.
The best, and most spectacular, opportunity came in the 31st minute when midfielder Luke Mulholland blasted an screaming side volley from about 25 yards away from the goal. It seemed destined for the upper left corner of the net, but Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey stretched full out and blocked the shot away.
Salt Lake continued to whiff on chances in front of the Timbers net and almost paid for their lack of finishing in the 71st minute. A bad giveaway by RSL defender Jamison Olave sprung another counterattack for the Timbers and this time they got a shot on frame. Substitute forward Maximiliano Urruti sent a cross into Diego Valeri who appeared to direct the ball with his hip directly at goal. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando clapped his hands above his head and saved the point-blank effort.
The Timbers came on strong at the end of the match and threatened RSL’s net with a couple of very dangerous chances. Borchers was inches away from exacting a small amount of revenge on his former team just minutes before he found the match winner. He almost had the game-clinching goal in the 86th minute when he got on the end of a corner and blasted a header inside the back post. RSL substitute Sebastian Saucedo was there, however and headed the attempt free and clear.
RSL will welcome in the Sounders in a week’s time and the Timbers will head home to face the Dynamo on Friday (8pm PT, KPDX).
Portland Timbers (11-8-6, 39pts) at Real Salt Lake (7-10-8, 29pts)
Aug. 15, 2015 – Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 0 1 1
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
POR: Borchers (Valeri), 90+5
RSL: Phillips (Caution), 12
POR: Ridgewell (Caution), 80
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Kwarasey, D Powell, D Borchers, D Ridgewell, D Villafaña, M Johnson © (Jewsbury, 86), M Chara, M Nagbe (Asprilla, 82), M Valeri, M Wallace, F Melano (Urruti, 65)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gleeson, D Paparatto, D Peay, M Nanchoff
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Borchers, Valeri, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Borchers, Valeri, 2); FOULS: 13 (Five players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 5
RSL: GK Rimando, D Beltran, D Maund, D Olave (Vásquez, 86), D Phillips, M Beckerman ©, M Mulholland, M Silva (Sandoval, 89), M Morales, M Garcia (Saucedo, 76), F Jaime
Substitutes Not Used: GK Attinella, D Glad, M Gil, M Stertzer
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Garcia, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Garcia, Mulholland, 2); FOULS: 7 (Maund, 2); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 3
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Daniel Belleau, Marco Arruda
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: n/a
Weather: Clear, 80 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial