RSL clinches playoff spot with 3-1 win over Portland

RSL clinches playoff spot with 3-1 win over Portland

Real Salt Lake clinched a spot in the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs after defeating the Portland Timbers 3-1 on Sunday, Oct. 9, at America First Field in Sandy, Utah. The victory comes as RSL RSL used one first-half goal and two second-half goals to power their way past the Timbers. 

RSL will next compete in round one of the playoffs against Austin FC on Sunday, Oct. 9, at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas. The match can be streamed on ABC or ESPN Deportes. 

The team finished the regular season 7th in the Western Conference Standings and with a 12-11-11 record overall with 47 points. RSL finished 9-3-5 overall at home and 3-8-6 on the road.

Despite the victory for RSL, the Timbers barely out-possessed RSL from 49.1% to 50.9%. However, RSL outshot the Timbers 17 to nine, and four to three in shots on goal. RSL also had eight corners compared to the two by the Timbers. Goalkeeper Zac MacMath had two saves for RSL.

RSL came into the first half very aggressively, taking three shots in the first 18 minutes with two getting blocked and one missing right by Sergio Córdova. However, RSL quickly got on the board in the 19th minute midfielder Jefferson Savarino curling a shot into the right corner to put RSL up 1-0 early. 

The First Half

Portland tried to respond a few minutes later with attacking midfielder Santiago Moreno firing at the top right corner but MacMath made the save. 

Fullback Marcelo Silva tried to score another RSL goal in the 23rd minute with a close-range header but the shot missed just left. Following a missed attempt by Portland, Andrew Brody attempted a shot of his own but missed left. 

RSL forward Rubio Méndez took the final shot of the half in the 28th minute, almost knocking a header into the goal but missed just barely to the left. Neither team was able to get an opportunity for the rest of the half as both defenses locked in.

The Second Half

The second half got off to another quick start for RSL as striker Rubio Méndez threaded goal number two right into the back of the post in the 48th minute to put RSL up 2-0. ‘

The game would continue to go back and forth with both sides missing out on opportunities for the next 30 minutes. Timbers goalie Aljaz Ivacic and MacMath each racked up a save during that time span as neither of the offenses could knock in a shot. 

After two missed attempts by the Timbers, RSL midfielder Bode Hidalgo nailed the ball into the top right corner of the post in the 82nd minute to put RSL up 3-0. Anderson Julio almost scored another goal for RSL in the 85th minute but missed a little right. 

However, Portland wasn’t finished yet as striker Dairon Asprilla scored in the 87th minute to prevent the shutout. The Timbers were unable to get any more opportunities though as Hidalgo fired the final shot of the game for RSL to win 3-1.

Photo Courtesy of USA Today Sports

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