Real Salt Lake’s academy season opener saw the Under-19s and Under-17s split results at Rio Tinto Stadium against Portland Timbers.
RSL U-19s 1-2 Portland
RSL struggled to break down Portland, and in doing so, they gave up several counterattacking opportunities, two of which ended in Portland goals, both of which were scored by Akil Watts.
RSL’s first came in the 80th minute, with Zahir Vasquez getting on the end of a well-placed cross that left Portland's goalkeeper flapping at thin air. That goal was enough to lift RSL’s hopes in search of a result.
That never came, despite a late push that saw several chances created.
RSL U-17s 2-0 Portland
Both goals for the U-17s came in the second half, and birth proved spectacular in their execution.
The first came from Benjamin Ortiz, who was a dominant presence throughout the match. He took the ball to the right side of the box and beat Portland’s goalkeeper at the near post with a sublime finish.
The second came in stoppage time, with left back Tommy Silva beating the goalkeeper with a half-volley from the edge of the box, capitalizing on chaos that followed a nicely taken corner.
Some heroics from goalkeeper David Ochoa kept RSL in control throughout, with his role as a sweeper-keeper providing some excitement. Several times, Ochoa came out of his box to stop an imminent attack or to claim a loose ball before it could be snapped up by a Portland player.