Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Timbers 2 - 1 Real Salt Lake
Timbers snap three game winless streak thanks to a mercurial performance from Santiago Moreno, and a killer finish from Felipe Mora.
The Portland Timbers (7-8-11) put in one of their best performances of the season to defeat Real Salt Lake (10-7-9) 2-1 under the floodlights at Providence Park thanks to goals from Santiago Moreno and Felipe Mora on either side of halftime.
Interim head coach Miles Joseph earned his first victory in charge of the club ahead of their third and final matchup against arch-rivals Seattle this coming weekend.
David Bingham got the nod in goal over Aljaz Ivacic once again, and Sebastian Blanco earned a rare start opposite Moreno on the wing. Zac McGraw also reclaimed a starting spot next to Dario Zuparic after battling an illness that he was dealing with the last couple weeks.
Moreno opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a bizarre goal, nodding a header home from a Juan Mosquera cross after the RSL backline fell asleep at the wheel. Felipe Mora would extend the lead in the second half off of the assist from Moreno, slamming a ball past Zac MacMath from inside the box. RSL pulled a goal back through a Brayan Vera shot that was redirected from Chicho Arango with just under 10 minutes to play in regulation, but the Timbers would hold on to pick up all three points.
13’ A goal made in Colombia — Santi Moreno arrived on the end of a high-arching cross from Juan Mosquera completely unmarked to put the Timbers on the board early. RSL’s backline was caught ball-watching, which allowed Moreno an easy finish for his first goal of the season.
31’ Braian Ojeda went down extremely theatrically after a coming together with Diego Chara in midfield, which earned Chara an astonishing yellow after a VAR review.
38’ David Bingham was forced into action, diving down low to repel a venomous strike from distance that went through traffic. A really sharp save on a shot that was arrowing into the bottom corner of the net.
45+1’ Braian Ojeda and Diego Chara reversed roles in a second flashpoint just before halftime, with Ojeda striking Chara’s face with an elbow that looked to be a certain red card. Unfortunately for the Timbers, the play wasn’t even reviewed, although Ojeda did receive a caution.
HALFTIME - After three minutes of stoppage time, the Timbers entered the break up 1-0 thanks to Moreno’s goal.
56’ David Bingham once again came to the Timbers’ rescue, making another low save on a shot from Ojeda at the near post.
57’ SUBS Yimmi Chara and Felipe Mora entered the match for Sebastian Blanco and Franck Boli.
64’ GOAL TIMBERS 2-0. Felipe Mora made an instant impact, rounding off a well-worked move from the Timbers with an emphatic finish inside the box that MacMath had no chance of saving. Bravo played a beautiful cross to Santi Moreno, who squared the ball right into the path of the on-rushing Mora to extend the lead for Portland.
72’ SUBS Dairon Asprilla and Bryan Acosta entered the match for Santi Moreno and Evander.
83’ RSL pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute through Chicho Arango, who reacted well to turn home a powerful strike from Vera that wrong-footed David Bingham on its way into the back of the net.
88’ SUB Larrys Mabiala entered the match for Cristhian Paredes for the Timbers’ final substitution of the match.
FULL TIME - After more than the four minutes of stoppage time, the Timbers held on to win 2-1 against RSL.
An excellent win for Portland, who could and should have had more goals. The link-up play between Santi Moreno and Juan Mosquera gave RSL fits down the right wing all night — a good sign for the Timbers in what has been a difficult season for Santi.
Zac McGraw and Dario Zuparic again looked very good at the back for the Timbers. For my money the pair didn’t put a foot wrong the entire match — another piece of encouragement for the club to take into their rivalry match with Seattle in three day’s time.
I’m not sure what the rest of the season holds for Portland, but if they play like they did against Salt Lake in this match they have a chance of beating any team in the league.
Up Next: Fish-gutting time. Flounders up in that ugly stadium. 7:30 p.m. PT on Saturday Sept. 2.