By TYLER GRAY
The Portland Timbers finally did what they were unable to do in their previous 11 matches against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The Timbers secured their second victory ever over the claret-and-cobalt since they first entered MLS in 2011 when they triumphed, 3-1, over a 10-man RSL on Saturday night. Fanendo Adi’s two strikes cancelled out an early Luke Mulholland goal for RSL and was enough to award Portland the full three points. Former RSL man Will Johnson would add the insurance goal with a second half penalty kick.
Adi scored both of his goals in the opening period, his first knotting the match in the in the 36th minute after an earlier RSL goal. Portland’s newest acquisition powered his header into the back of the net off a Portland corner. RSL defender, Chris Schuler, was draped all over him but it didn’t deter Adi who fought off the challenge and buried his chance.
The Nigerian would double his tally just before first half stoppage time.
Portland executed the counter to perfection and ran with numbers at RSL. The ball was played on to a streaking Nagbe who tried a shot that was blocked by RSL ‘keeper Attinella. The ball was parried into RSL defender Chris Wingert and fell on a platter to Adi. The Nigerian made no mistake and blasted his shot into the roof of the net making it 2-1.
RSL started the match brightly with a lot of possession and even got on the board first in the 23rd minute off a corner kick.
Mulholland calmly took the ball out of the air after defender, Chris Schuler, was able to get his head to the ball and nod it on. RSL’s newest member kept the ball low and hard and slipped it past Ricketts into the net.
The game turned for the home side when defender Tony Beltran received two yellow cards in quick succession and was sent off in the 54th minute.
The Timbers put the game out of reach in the 73rd minute via a penalty kick and squashed any hope that the depleted RSL squad would mounted a comeback.
Steve Zakuani made a smart run at the RSL defense and threaded a perfectly weighted ball to teammate Diego Valeri who tried to put the ball back across the face of goal. RSL’s Schuler attempted a slide tackle but ended up handling the ball in the box and referee Ismail Elfath pointed to the spot.
Will Johnson stepped to the spot and calmly buried the penalty kick to put the Timbers up 3-1.
The Timbers saw the match through to the end, recording their first-ever victory at Rio Tinto Stadium and finally removing the long-awaited monkey from their back.
Here are the game highlights: