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Superb response from Real Salt Lake leads to late 3-3 draw against Portland Timbers

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers continued their exciting MLS play in what was simultaneously the most predictable of ways and the most unlikely: a 3-3 draw with both sides being in the lead at opposite ends of the match. Real Salt Lake's late equalizer from Cole Grossman, in for his first match after a long injury layoff.

Portland opened the scoring in the 24th minute with a Rodney Wallace header past Jeff Attinella, in for an ill Nick Rimando. Wallace, unmarked in the box, had no problem sending in the header from Valeri's cross. It was yet another problematic moment from set pieces.

Nat Borchers scored an equalizer in the 38th minute, finishing with his feet after Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts spilled the ball from a Yordany Alvarez header. The goal was his first of the 2013 campaign, and his first in just over a year.

Javier Morales was handed a penalty when Andrew Jean-Baptiste pulled back Javier Morales in the box. Donovan Ricketts had spilled a shot from Khari Stephenson, who also got the play moving with a crafty interception from a Timbers free kick, and Morales picked up the rebound before drawing the foul. His stutter-step penalty somehow fooled Ricketts, who had been poor throughout the first half.

Portland Timbers were handed a penalty kick of their own in the 56th minute after Rodney Wallace chipped a ball into the arm of Brandon McDonald, who was called for a handball. The ensuing penalty was put away past Attinella without too much trouble.

Yordany Alvarez was sent off in the 78th minute after a hard challenge, prompting the arrival of Cole Grossman into the match for his first match since returning from a concussion-induced absence for a long swathe of the season.

In the 86th minute, Portland Timbers got the goal they were searching for, going up 3-2 when Khalif Alhassan finished unmarked in the box after Jose Valencia got tangled up with Nat Borchers - then proceeded to sit on him while Alhassan put Timbers in the lead.

Cole Grossman, in for his second appearance on the season, scored the equalizer at 3-3, finishing at the near post for his second MLS goal and his first for Real Salt Lake. Luis Gil sent in a hard shot, which rebounded perfectly to Grossman. A note too is needed for Tony Beltran, whose work to keep the ball in play and in RSL's possession at the corner flag before delivering the ball to Gil.

A special note for Jeff Attinella is deserved as well, whose play kept Real Salt Lake in consideration time and time again. Not only did he look to have improved in his distribution, but his reactions on set pieces were vital.