Timbers Matchday vs. Real Salt Lake

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Real Salt Lake at Timbers

Kickoff: 8 p.m. today at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV/radio: ROOT (Cable Ch. 34/734) / AM 750.

Tickets:www.portlandtimbers.com 503-553-5555. A sellout is anticipated.

Where they stand: Portland (9 wins, 11 ties and 3 losses) is third in the West with 38 points. Real Salt Lake (12-5-8, 41 points) is first in the West.

Head to head: This is the first of three MLS matches between the teams in 2013. Real Salt Lake beat Portland 2-1 on Aug. 7 in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. The teams will also meet on Aug. 30 in Sandy, Utah, and on Oct. 19 at Jeld-Wen Field. Portland has one win, one draw and three ties in five MLS matches against RSL.

Timbers story: A win would put Portland level with Real Salt Lake on points atop the Western Conference, but the Timbers have played two fewer games than RSL -- and three fewer than second-place Colorado -- so Portland could have a distinct advantage if those extra games turn into wins. The Timbers have lost only once at home this season, in their second game of the year to Montreal. They are coming off a 2-1 Saturday win over FC Dallas. Injuries are likely to prevent Will Johnson, Jack Jewsbury or Frederic Piquionne from playing. Ryan Johnson has a team-high eight MLS goals. Darlington Nagbe has seven league goals this season. Diego Valeri has a team-record 10 assists, second best in MLS this season. Valeri has set up Portland's last six league goals.

Real Salt Lake story: RSL has one win, three losses and a tie in its last five matches and is coming off a 4-2 loss on Saturday at Los Angeles. But the slump is somewhat deceiving. The losses have come to championship contenders Kansas City, New York and Los Angeles. The draw was with rival Colorado, and the win over a Houston side on the rise in the East. RSL will be without team captain Kyle Beckerman. The U.S. national team midfielder picked up his fifth yellow card of the season on Saturday and must sit out this one game. Alvaro Saborio leads RSL with nine goals in league play. Javier Morales has a team-high eight assists.