Plata leads RSL in dominating victory vs. Timbers



SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake scored four goals in back-to-back games for the first time in club history and cruised to a 4-2 victory over the visiting Portland Timbers.

RSL got goals from all over the place with Joao Plata, Alvaro Saborio, Javier Morales and Luis Gil each putting a ball into the back of the net. Plata was especially dangerous, adding two assists on top of his goal.

RSL came out screaming from the opening whistle and got the match’s first goal through a brilliant sequence in just the ninth minute.

Midfielder Kyle Beckerman played an entry pass to Joao Plata who flicked the ball into space in the penalty box. Luis Gil ran onto the ball and blasted a shot just inside the far post.

Plata would be the Timbers undoing again just six minutes later when a piece of individual brilliance unlocked the visitors’ backline.

The Ecuadorian forward received the ball just inside the penalty box, showcased a stepover, then blew past Portland defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste and lashed a shot off the far post and in.

Portland would pull a goal back in the 32nd minute through the feet of midfielder Darlington Nagbe when RSL was lazy in closing him down at the top of the box. The former Akron player decided to take a shot and Rimando’s touch wasn’t strong enough to keep it out of the net.

Momentum would swing dramatically back to the home side when, in the 47th minute, Portland midfielder Ben Zemanski slid into Ned Grabavoy with his leg raised and was shown a red card.

Morales notched RSL’s third goal in spectacular fashion in the 56th minute. RSL’s midfield catalyst got a poor initial touch to Plata’s corner kick but was able to execute a beautiful bicycle to put the ball in the net.

“It was a perfect corner kick from Plata,” said Morales “I think my first touch wasn’t good. So the ball goes up and Sabo told me, ‘Leave it! Leave it!’ but I was there and I was thinking to do the bicycle and lucky for me I scored.”

Saborio put the game away in his usual fashion, scoring the fourth goal for the home side when he put a header into the back of the net in the 67th minute.

The Timbers would pick up a second goal in 78th minute when Jose Valencia’s strike rebounded to Sal Zizzo who easily slotted the ball home but it was obvious that the game was too far out of reach.

Head coach Jason Kreis praised his players for putting their chances away and explained that finishing was the difference tonight.

“When the ball is on somebody’s foot in the box, they were clinical,” Kreis said. “For me, that’s oftentimes the difference between the absolute best teams and some of the mediocre ones. What happens in and around the box is typically clinical with the best teams. Tonight, those first two opportunities, Gil’s shot and Plata’s shot, were fantastic.”

Grabavoy echoed his coach’s sentiments and summed it nicely when he explained that RSL is just on fire.

“I think we’re just on right now,” Grabavoy said. “We’re finishing our chances. If you look at the first two goals, two just very clinical finishes; low to the back post. Javier scores a wonder goal and Sabo does what he usually does, just put it up there and he’s gonna head it into the goal.”

RSL now have a bye week, getting a chance to rest some tired bodies before they travel to face Seattle in two weeks time.

Here are the match highlights:


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27 Responses to Plata leads RSL in dominating victory vs. Timbers

  1. Benjamin says:

    I admittedly don’t watch a lot of Real Salt Lake games, but as a National Team fan, I am fairly interested in the development of Luis Gil. For someone more in the know, how is he looking overall this season? How far away is he from breaking into the Senior National Team?

    • Camjam says:

      His season is…. interesting. He’s hit higher levels this season than ever. In a handful of games he’s been downright impressive (the last 2 have been very good). However, like any young player, he has been pretty inconsistent.

      • Benjamin says:

        Can you see him eventually developing into a player that dominates game in and game out for RSL?

        • JRP says:

          Yes. The year his contract expires and right before we lose him to Europe. Isn’t that how it always works?
          I think he is on the edge of that kind of play. Only he can make it happen.

  2. Vinz Clortho says:

    Glad this match was on natl. TV. RSL coulda’ done better and prevented the goals, but it’s hard to complain when the offense is humming.

  3. Grunt says:

    The Timbers have one of the thinnest rosters in the league right now. I appreciate the passion of the owner and competency of the coach, but they are achieving about all that can be expected with the players at their disposal. They’ve now lost four starting center backs (Horst, Silvestre, Ka, Danso), and three central midfielders (Valeri, Johnson, Jewsbury). The reality is, the Timbers have one of the lowest paid rosters in the league, and the injuries have only made that clearer. Perhaps Paulson is doing what he can, but they need to spend.

    • Jwork says:

      You don’t need to spend to be good and have quality depth, RSL is the perfect example of that.

    • divers suck says:

      You can make all the excuses you want. Goals 3 and 4 for RSL were complete Defense 101 failures on the part of the Timbers. How do you let a person get so open on a corner kick long enough for the ball to bounce and let Morales get a bicycle kick out of it with no defender even close?….You can’t blame basic soccer (or lack there of) on injuries and suspensions.

      • Brian says:

        Are you kidding me? Portland has lost 4 CBs to injury and started MCKenzie for the first time this season. I don’t know of McKenzie is any good, he has only been with the team for 3 months and came in as a last resort option. I expect this type of performance against a quality team like RSL. If a team’s third and sixth option at CB can prevent RSL from scoring this league would be in big trouble.

        • JTX says:

          Wait . . . Who’s playing in RSL’s back line alongside Borchers? Carlos Salcedo has done an excellent job filling for Chris Schuler. RSL has had it’s share of injuries this year at the CB position and has continued to win in spite of that. RSL traded away 3 all star caliber players for a handful of cash and have only improved. One of those players was Jamison Olave one of the most dominant CB’s in the league. Why should Portland get a pass just because they have injuries in their back line?

          • petedx says:

            Portland was playing with their 3rd and 4th choice CB at best, missing will Johnson and Jewsbury, the heart of the midfield and then Valeri, their playmaker had to leave early. So if RSL was without Borchers, Beckerman, Morales, and Plata I’m sure you would feel the same way. MLS is a crapshoot week to week due to salary cap madness and byzantine structure. But good on RSL and especially Kreis for being good at getting the best out of their resources and players.

          • Brian says:

            You are kidding, right? Borchers, Wingert, and Beltran plus Beckerman in front of them and Rimando at keeper. How many games has that group played together under the same coach and the same system? You want to compare losing Schuler to losing everything Portland is missing? Jean-Babtiste, Harrington, and Chara have played much of this season together and that is it. The second CB slot has been a carousel and LB has been inconsistent.

            You are trying to compare an established team that needed to plug a few holes to a brand new team that isn’t done being built. Portland made huge strides in the offseason and are still in great position to make the playoffs. Portland gets a pass because they shouldn’t have been this good. Portland never should have been in a position to take the lead in the Supporter’s Shield race.

  4. tom says:

    Beckerman could have been sent of several times… ijs

    • JRP says:

      Sent off to get a haircut? Get thee to Great Clips, Beckerman! Two game suspension for massive hygiene failures.
      Sour grapes? Maybe.
      Beckerman is legit. He knows how to tackle. Not seeing what you are.

      • RB says:

        But he should’ve been booked for running in and delivering 2 totally unnecessary 2-handed shoves.

    • Camjam says:

      Sent of heaven maybe. Honestly, last night, Portland’s players could have learned how to properly tackle from Beckerman. If you think he should have been sent of *sic* several times, how many times should Chara have? 6?

  5. Original Aaron says:

    If this weren’t a world cup year, I think he would probably be invited to the January camp just to get a feel for the setup. He’s not ready yet (but with young guys- it could happen at any point). My opinion is that he’s definitely a part of the USMNT for the next cycle. He was dominant in the U-20 WC, and had a bit of a lull when he got back to RSL, but in the past couple games it seems like his focus has returned- its possible we could see a real breakout with him this year in the playoffs. As young as the team has gotten under Klinsmann, I have a feeling that once the ’14 WC is complete, the average age is going to drop way off. The next cycle will be full of guys that are currently under 23- Brooks, Johanson, Gil, Boyd, Gyau, Trapp, O’Neill, Agudelo, Farrel, Villareal, Zardes… wow, an age revolution is coming

    • divers suck says:

      Who are you talking about? Plata is Ecuadorian. Isn’t Johansson over 23?

      • Neruda says:

        He’s referring to Luis Gil. He was a handful and that means teams have to pay attention to him now. WC talk for Gil seems premature but he has it in him to improve even more and play for the senior team

  6. beachbum says:

    Porter tried a new tactical approach on the road, played with 3 in the back and moved Nagbe all over the pitch. that guy is a darn good player, Chara too, I enjoy watching them both. the tactical change made for a much more enjoyable game to watch but Porter’s team dropped two quick goals and it could have been worse with that approach for the Timbers it looked like to me. will be interesting to see if he stays with this on the road going forward or not and they still fouled from behind a lot. the Morales goal was ridiculous, but what an error by Portland at this time of the season to leave him literally unmarked on a corner.

    • petedx says:

      Fouls were even and RSL had more yellow cards, the hard foul by zemanski certainly wasn’t from behind, I can only remember the 1 time Chara stopped a break with a foul and rightly got a yellow card. Where are all these fouls from behind?

      • beachbum says:

        all over the place, and every time they play on the road petedx. if you only recall one that’s on you.

        • petedx says:

          No that was really the only one that happened of the 15 fouls, but hey keep pushing that narrative.

  7. JRP says:

    Here’s a question. RSL is the best team in the league, but who is the MVP for the team this season? I could make an argument for Rimando, Beckerman, Morales, Ned or Sabo. Who would you pick?

    • Neruda says:

      Tough to call. Rimando and beckerman have missed games with inter duty. Morales mused a few matches at start if season. Grabavoy is very dependable and is causing fits for teams that key on the bigger names. It has to be javi though. He brings all the attackers and fresh faces into the game.

  8. RB says:

    With just 1 point from their last 3 outings and now having caught up to most of the rest of the pack (everybody except RSL) in GP, I guess the old “games in hand!” cry may be a bit out of fashion now in Portland?

  9. Mike O says:

    WJ is in this game and it’s a completely different result. Since he’s been out the heart seems to just be gone from this team.