With a game that had everything that you could possibly imagine, Real Salt Lake walks out of Providence Park with one point. Despite the inconsistency of the fouls that were called by the officials, RSL was able to manage a result on the road. While it would have been nice to have walked out with 3 points, RSL can hold their head high with the performance in tonight’s match.
While there were bright spots in this game, there was one thing that stuck out more than the rest: Joao Plata is on Fire. With 3 goals and 1 assist, Plata has reemerged as a nightmare for opposing defense. He is creating opportunities, whether on set pieces or in the run of play, which Is giving Real Salt Lake the opportunity to score more. It is also great to see Yura Movsisyan score his first goal in an RSL jersey since 2009.
While offensively, Real Salt Lake is performing on all cylinders, there was nothing that RSL could do to stop the goals from the Timbers without all 11 men on the field. The defense was already in question for this game with the injury sustained by Jamison Olave, but after going down a man early, that put even more pressure on the defense. In the 31st minute, RSL captain Kyle Beckerman, received a straight red card.
The tempo of the game changed from that point on. While they were able to create a little bit more possession, the game was more of a defensive game for the majority of the first half and the entire second half of the game.
RSL was able to hold back the Timber’s offense until the 79th minute when Fenando Adi scored. Four minutes later, RSL was forced to play a one dimensional game with the team’s 2nd red card handed to Jamison Olave. In the 2015 season, RSL had a team high of 9 red cards. 3 games into the 2016 season, we are well on our way to shattering that record.
The biggest obstacle that is apparent to everyone is Real Salt Lake needs to keep all 11 men on the field to even have a fighting chance in Western Conference which, by the way, is getting more and more competitive with acquisitions of great players.
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando has yet to record a shutout for the 2016 season but it was not for a lack of trying. After over 400 minutes with no goals being scored against him in Portland, the defense collapsed and conceded two goals. The one thing that is clear to everyone is there needs to be a signing of a dependable center back that would help solidify RSL's back line.
While there were great things to take away from the game for RSL, like the composure to be down a man and create a change to score, the lack of discipline on the defensive side of the ball is where Real Salt Lake has the most to improve on. The team has time to step back and regroup after a tough game and start getting ready to travel to play Sporting Kansas City in two weeks.