Real Salt Lake Tops Timbers 2-1September 22, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Portland Timbers
Real Salt Lake scored both first-half goals on free kicks around the box, with the first coming in the 14th minute on a low shot by forward Fabian Espindola. Midfielder Javier Morales then tucked a free kick from just beyond the top left corner of the box under the cross bar in the 36th minute.
The Timbers pulled one back in the 61st minute on a Bright Dike header. Real Salt Lake, playing its first league match since Sept. 6, held on for the 2-1 win despite Portland's late pressure for the equalizer, including a Dike shot off the cross bar five minutes from time.
Morales recorded his second game-winning goal of the season and his team-best seventh assist on the campaign. Additionally, Espindola scored his seventh goal of the season and goalkeeper Nick Rimando made four saves to guide Real Salt Lake (15-11-4, 49pts) to its 15th win of the season.
Dike scored his third goal in eight games, midfielder Sal Zizzo notched his career-high fourth assist and goalkeeper Joe Bendik made three saves for the Timbers (7-15-8, 29pts). Portland had four different players record multiple shots against Real Salt Lake.
Espindola's first goal since June 16 lifted Real Salt Lake to an early 1-0 lead. Morales was fouled just outside the box along the right post setting up a free kick. The set piece started with Morales running over the top of the ball, tapping it out for Espindola, who then hit a low, driven shot through a narrow opening in the Portland wall and just inside the near post.
Real Salt Lake doubled its lead, 2-0, in the 36th minute on a free kick from the left side. Morales was fouled once again to set up the play. Morales took the kick from just beyond the top left corner of the penalty area, curling a shot up over the Timbers wall and tucking the ball just under the cross bar.
Dike came on as a halftime sub and helped the Timbers pull to within a goal just past the hour mark. Portland moved the ball quickly down field allowing Zizzo to work the ball down the right side. Zizzo crossed a well-placed ball into the box for Dike, who jumped up and lofted a header over the reach of Rimando and under the cross bar to trim the deficit 2-1.
The Timbers made a strong push for the equalizer over the final 15 minutes of the contest. Rimando made a key save on a shot by midfielder Franck Songo'o on a free kick in the 82nd minute, punching the ball away from danger. Zizzo then served in another sharp cross for Dike charging through the box in the 85th minute, and Dike's header rattled off the cross bar.
Rimando also made a clutch stop in the first half to keep Portland's Rodney Wallace from finding the back of the net. Wallace got his head on the end of a corner kick by Jack Jewsbury in the 21st minute, and Wallace's shot from six yards out was stopped by the out-stretch hand of Rimando on the goal line.
Making a second consecutive start for the Timbers, Bendik recorded all three of his saves on shots by Espindola, including one on a one-on-one opportunity in the 64th minute.
The Timbers return home to play host to D.C. United on Saturday, Sept. 29, at JELD-WEN Field at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) in one of their two remaining regular-season home matches. The matchup against United will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS, with radio broadcasts available on 101.1 KXL and in Spanish on La Pantera 940 AM.
Major League Soccer Stories from September 22, 2012
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- Real Salt Lake Tops Timbers 2-1 - Portland Timbers
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- RSL Chops Down Portland Timbers FC, 2-1, Before Sellout Crowd - Real Salt Lake
- Red Bulls Earn 1-1 Road Tie against New England Revolution - New York Red Bulls
- Sporting KC Unbeaten Streak Reaches Eight with 0-0 Draw at Montreal - Sporting Kansas City
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