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What we’re watching in Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake

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After two days rest, Real Salt Lake is in Portland. They need a win if they want to secure a playoff spot.

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Thursday night was a rush. A 4-1 win is a great boost after a 4-1 loss to the Timbers a few weeks prior. The points gained were absolutely essential to keep Real Salt Lake above the playoff line. RSL are playing in Portland this afternoon and a win would secure them a playoff berth. Can Mike Petke’s team beat the Timbers in Portland?

Another must-ish win

There’s no way around the fact that if RSL win this, they’re made it to the playoffs. If they tie or lose, they no longer control their own destiny. Faced with similar circumstances on Thursday, a team built of largely non-starters pulled off an impressive win. Now that the international players have returned and rested, we’re likely to see a return to a more normal line up. Despite who starts, the fight in the team is going to be everything. RSL has had big wins in Portland in the past, namely, last July when Real won 4-1 in Portland. This team can get a win. They have the skill to beat Portland, but smart tactics and aggressive play are essential. Having just lost to this team and a playoff spots (potentially) on the line, will RSL battle through?

Line up choices

Several players made strong cases why they should be in the starting lineup for RSL after their last match. Corey Baird, for example, played exceptionally well against New England. Luke did good work in the midfield. Besler looked not just serviceable but solid in the midfield, and netted his first MLS goal. Onuoha made his starting debut. Now that the attacking trio of Rusnak, Plata, and Savarino are back and rested, plus Sunny and Beckerman returning from suspension, we could see the go-to line up or a mixture of Thursday’s line up. It’s nice having options. 2018 has been marked by injury (and perhaps a few fallings out), so seeing guys healthy and available is an okay problem to have. My hope is that we start with our strongest guys (thinking more classic lineup here) and sub in guys like Baird and Bofo to keep the tempo up in the latter stages of the game. Will Petke going with a line up that lost to PTFC or bring in a more experimental crew?

Injury report 10/21/18

OUT

Beltran (knee 10/15/17)

Allen (knee 6/16/17)

Horwath (achilles 4/18)

Horst (achilles 6/26)

Predicted lineup

Rimando

Lennon, Glad, M. Silva, Herrera

Beckerman, Sunny

Savarino, Rusnak, Plata

Kreilach