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Match preview: RSL looks to snap 4-game winless skid when they host Portland

Real Salt Lake has lost their last three games, and is now winless in four, as they host the 2nd-place Portland Timbers who are currently unbeaten in 6, and are on a 5-game winning streak.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake returns home to host the Portland Timbers on Wednesday as they’ll look to snap their four-game winless streak after losing their last three in a row. This game will wrap up their three straight matches against Cascadia sides, which resulted in a 3-1 loss to Seattle followed by a 2-1 loss to Vancouver last week.

The last time RSL met the Timbers was on Portland’s home turf as they battled to a wild 4-4 finish splitting the points at Providence Park. RSL was down 4-2 heading into the final minutes of the game, but Giuseppe Rossi and Sam Johnson both added goals to secure a draw for the visitors as they escaped with a point.

Real Salt Lake

Record: 4-7-6 (18 points)
Table: 11th place (west)
Points per game: 1.06
Most goals: Damir Kreilach (7)
Most assists: Maikel Chang (5)
Clean sheets: 6
Form: WDLLL

Kreilach scored his 7th goal of the season against the Whitecaps last weekend as RSL failed to find victory for the fourth game in a row, falling to 11th place in the Western Conference — just three points ahead of last-place LA Galaxy. Right now they only sit one point out of the playoff picture, but with the way they’re currently trending, RSL will have a mountain to climb if they want to make it into the postseason this year.

The home side will be missing a handful of players as Giuseppe Rossi is still out with injury and Albert Rusnak is out on international duty with Slovakia as they still have one more match to play in this month’s slate of UEFA Nations League games. In addition to that, Sam Johnson is currently barred from team activities after reports of him holding large house parties surfaced just a few days ago.

A few players are also on yellow card accumulation watch, as Kyle Beckerman, Corey Baird, and Pablo Ruiz will serve a one-game suspension after their next yellow card, so they’ll have to be extra careful on the field tonight. Some good news out of the injury camp is that Nedum Onuoha and Everton Luiz have fallen off the injury list, so we can expect them to be available and hopefully both lock down a starting spot to shore up the defense against a very potent and in-form Portland team.

Absences

OUT: Giuseppe Rossi (undisclosed injury), Chris Garcia (undisclosed injury), Albert Rusnak (int’l duty), Sam Johnson (temporary team suspension)

Projected Lineup

Putna; Herrera, Glad, Onuoha, Toia; Everton, Ruiz; Chang, Kreilach, Meram; Baird

Portland Timbers FC

Record: 9-4-3 (30 points)
Table: 2nd place (west)
Points per game: 1.88
Most goals: Diego Valeri (7), Jeremy Ebobisse (7), Felipe Mora (7)
Most assists: Diego Chara (6)
Clean sheets: 4
Form: WWWWW

Portland sits in a completely different situation than RSL right now, as they’re currently riding a five-game winning streak (six unbeaten) in which time they’ve outscored their opponents by an impressive 18-5. Sitting in second place in the Western Conference, 12 points ahead of Real Salt Lake, the Timbers are battling for top position in the conference as they’re behind the Seattle Sounders only on goal differential.

The Timbers are coming off a 3-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes as they put the Quakes to bed for the second time in their last five outings overall. Jaroslaw Niezgoda sent in two goals early in the second half, and Felipe Mora added one more to notch his 7th goal of the season, tying Diego Valeri and Jeremy Ebobisse in the team’s golden boot race.

Portland isn’t without its own injuries and absences as well, as they’ll be missing big players like Dairon Asprilla and Sebastian Blanco to injuries. That hasn’t stopped them from continuing a great run of form, though, and they’ll hope to keep riding that wave through this week.

Absences

OUT: Dairon Asprilla (knee), Blake Bodily (knee), Sebastian Blanco (ACL), Julio Cascante (ankle), Eryk Williamson (suspended), Andy Polo (int’l duty)

Projected Lineup

Clark; Bonilla, Mabiala, Zuparic, Villafana; Zambrano, D. Chara; Ebobisse, Valeri, Y. Chara; Niezgoda


Match info

When: Wednesday, October 14, 7:30PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT

Weather: 58 degrees, partly cloudy

Broadcast: KMYU, KSL TV app (streaming), ESPN+ (streaming), ESPN700 (radio)