Timbers MatchDay: at Real Salt Lake

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



Timbers at Real Salt Lake

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah.

TV / radio: ROOT Sports/ AM 750.

Timbers notes: Portland (10 wins, 8 losses, 6 ties, 36 points) entered the weekend in fifth place in the Western Conference. The Timbers have posted consecutive shutouts and now have a league-leading 10 on the season. The Timbers had a full week between games, while RSL traveled to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday. The Timbers’ 1-0 home win over Chicago last week was the first in five matches, but got Portland its 10th win earlier than in its first four MLS seasons. Fanendo Adi’s 10 goals are tied for sixth most in the league — and at least seven more than any other Timbers player. After getting outscored 14-1 over four road games — including a 2-0 U.S. Open Cup loss at Salt Lake — the Timbers earned a scoreless draw in their most recent away match. Look for the Timbers to focus on maintaining good defending position rather than forcing the attack. Despite creating the second most chances in the league, only four teams have scored fewer goals than Portland’s 25 goals through 24 games. Argentine Designated Player Lucas Melano was dangerous off the bench in last week’s win over Chicago. Coach Caleb Porter said a decision on Melano’s role at Salt Lake would be made on Saturday. The coach has said that Melano must be ready to play at least 60 minutes before he is inserted into the starting lineup.

RSL notes: Real Salt Lake (7-9-8, 29 points) enters the weekend eighth in the Western Conference. This is the first home match in three weeks for RSL, which has lost at D.C. United (6-4) and at Vancouver (4-0) in league play, won a CONCACAF Champions League match in Guatemala, then on Wednesday fell 3-1 at Sporting Kansas City in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. RSL has been good at home, posting eight wins, one loss and six draws in all competitions this season — including a 2-0 win over visiting Portland on July 1 in a U.S. Open Cup match. U.S. national team goalkeeper Nick Rimando returned to the lineup for Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup match. He missed six league games while playing in the Gold Cup and then recovering from injury. … RSL will be without defender Abdoulie Mansallly and head coach Jeff Cassar will not be on the sideline because of red cards each received in last weekend’s 4-0 loss at Vancouver.

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