Real Salt Lake rode some set piece magic, and some desperate second-half defending to a vital victory that secures the team's regular place in the MLS playoffs.
Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales delivered first-half free kick goals to power Real Salt Lake to a 2-1 victory against the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.
The Timbers shook off those free kick goals to mount a serious challenge, with Sal Zizzo combining with Bright Dike for another goal, but the Timbers could not find the equalizer despite taking charge of the match in the second half.
Espindola opened the scoring in the 14th minute by bending a free kick around the Timbers wall to give the home team the early lead. Morales made it 2-0 in the 36th minute with an even more impressive free kick, giving Timbers goalkeeper Joe Bendik no chance with his perfect blast.
Portland put real pressure on the RSL defense in the second half, with wingers Zizzo and Franck Songo'o providing real threats on the flank. Dike could have had at least one other goal, but blasted one header off the crossbar.
The win leaves Real Salt Lake in a tie for second place with the Los Angeles Galaxy (though LA currently holds the tie-breaker based on goals scored).
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match? Think RSL got lucky to escape with all three points? Impressed with the Timbers showing in the second half? See RSL finishing ahead of LA and Seattle?
Share your thoughts below.