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Blanco scores twice, Timbers beat Real Salt Lake 3-1

Portland clinches home field for first round of playoffs

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Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco (10) celebrates a goal against Real Salt Lake during an MLS soccer match Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in Sandy, Utah.
Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco (10) celebrates a goal against Real Salt Lake during an MLS soccer match Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in Sandy, Utah. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News via AP) Photo Gallery

SANDY, Utah — Sebastian Blanco scored two goals and the Portland Timbers beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 on Wednesday night to clinch home field for the first round of the playoffs.

Blanco put in a header in the 17th minute and scored on a give-and-go with Jaroslaw Niezgoda to finish a counter attack just before halftime. In between, Blanco centered the ball with pace that went off Aaron Herrera for an own goal.

With the season ending Sunday, Portland (16-13-4) is locked into the fourth seed in the Western Conference.

Salt Lake (13-14-6) could have clinched a playoff spot, but only managed a penalty-kick goal by Albert Rusnak, his career-high 11th, in the closing minutes.

Portland swept all three games this season by a combined 12-4 margin.

TIMBERS 3, REAL SALT LAKE 1

Portland 3 0—3

Real Salt Lake 0 1—1

First Half—1, Portland, Blanco, 5 (Paredes), 17th minute; 2, Portland, Herrera, 38th; 3, Portland, Blanco, 6 (Niezgoda), 45th.

Second Half—4, Real Salt Lake, Rusnak, 11 (penalty kick), 88th.

Goalies—Portland, Steve Clark, Aljaz Ivacic; Real Salt Lake, David Ochoa, Zac MacMath.

Yellow Cards—Ruiz, Real Salt Lake, 37th; Tuiloma, Portland, 82nd; Bravo, Portland, 87th.

Referee—Christopher Penso. Assistant Referees—Gjovalin Bori, Mike Rottersman, Fotis Bazakos. 4th Official—Victor Rivas.

Lineups

Portland—Steve Clark; Claudio Bravo, Bill Tuiloma, Jose Van Rankin, Dario Zuparic; Sebastian Blanco (Santiago Moreno, 75th), Diego Chara, Cristhian Paredes (George Fochive, 75th); Dairon Asprilla, Yimmi Chara (Marvin Loria, 88th), Jaroslaw Niezgoda (Felipe Mora, 62nd).

Real Salt Lake—David Ochoa; Andrew Brody (Justin Meram, 46th), Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera, Erik Holt; Maikel Chang, Everton Luiz (Anderson Julio, 85th), Damir Kreilach, Pablo Ruiz (Jonathan Menendez, 75th), Albert Rusnak; Rubio Rubin (Bobby Wood, 61st).

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