SANDY, Utah — Alvaro Saborio scored once and assisted on Joao Plata’s goal to lead Real Salt Lake to the U.S. Open Cup final for the first time with a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night.
RSL will host DC United in the championship game on Oct. 1 after United beat the Chicago Fire 2-0 earlier in the evening. The winner of the final will qualify for a spot in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.
Salt Lake attacked relentlessly in the opening moments and it paid off with Saborio’s goal in the 7th minute.
Khari Stephenson forced a corner kick with a shot from distance to set up the scoring play. Following the corner kick, Kyle Beckerman sent a cross into Saborio on the left side of the 6-yard box. He then redirected a header back toward the right post and the ball bounced off the post and in.
Strong play from Nick Rimando kept Portland from answering in the first half. The Timbers got into scoring position several times, but came away empty after some clutch saves from Rimando.
The biggest came in the 40th minute when Will Johnson kicked a right-footer down the center of the box. It looked like a sure goal, but Rimando managed to poke the ball away with his fingertips at the last minute.
Ryan Johnson had another good chance for Portland when he uncorked a header during first-half stoppage time. The ball bounced off the left post.
Salt Lake finally got another goal from Plata in the 78th minute. Saborio flicked the ball up to Plata outside the top of the box and the reserve forward sent it right back down the middle.
Portland cut the lead in half in the 90th minute. Rimando blocked a shot from Diego Valeri and Valeri collected it on the rebound. He headed the ball back over Rimando’s head to bring the Timbers within striking distance.