Real Salt Lake host the Portland Timbers in a must win matchup to keep RSL’s playoff hopes alive. Here are three things to watch.
After missing out on three points last weekend in a 3-2 loss to the Whitecaps on the road, RSL return home to take on the second place Portland Timbers. Real will need to get points in this one to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Luis Silva finally stopped his goal scoring streak against Vancouver, and the three headed monster behind him in Albert Rusnák, Jefferson Savarino, and Joao Plata weren’t able to ripple the net either. In fact both goals came from the fullbacks in Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran (who scored his first MLS goal). In order to handle the Timbers, the RSL attack will need to get back to their dominant play.
The match against the Whitecaps could also be viewed as a regression to the mean based on the RSL season. Most notably with the backline making a few mistakes that led to Whitecaps goals. Those mistakes were a regular occurence to start the season, but have disapeared over the last few weeks with the solid play of Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, and David Horst in front of Nick Rimando. The Timbers have one of the best attacks in MLS, and the defense will have to be mistake free or it could also cost them.
Real Salt Lake will need to make up some ground, but it helps that the fifth place Dynamo and seventh place Earthquakes will face off. RSL fans should be close attention to that one, as an RSL win would pull them closer to the playoffs with a draw between their Western Conference foes. If one of the two teams is able to defeat the other, RSL can also climb up the ranks but need to win to ensure its a possibility.