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

The Timbers visit Rio Tinto Stadium to face a struggling RSL

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

It’s been a rough few weeks for RSL. Their last win was five games ago, and Portland has won all five of their more recent games. Portland are second from the top of the western conference, and RSL are second from the bottom. Unless Freddy Juarez has had a revelation, this will be a rough game for RSL.

Nedum could be back

The defense has struggled. There was no reason for RSL to give up two goals after taking the lead against Vancouver at the weekend, yet they did. But center back Nedum Onuoha is no longer on the injury report. He may need more time to recover, but if he’s able to pair with Glad, that’s RSL’s best chance at preventing goals.

Giving minutes to the kids

This season is probably one to forget, for many reasons. While a win and some results going their way could see RSL move above the playoff line, their points per game lands them right where they are currently. If RSL do one thing this season, it should be developing for the future. There are a lot of youngsters on the squad, from Ochoa to Ramírez. If the first choice players aren’t getting it done on the field, why not give the kids a runout?

A weakened attack

RSL’s attack took another blow this week with DB forward Sam Johnson allegedly hosting large parties of 100+ people, including one where shots were fired. He’s suspended from team activities, and while he hasn’t been great this season, that means RSL are down another forward. Douglas Martinez and Corey Baird are the most likely players to start in the center forward position. How will the team handle being down another attacker?

Injury report

Not medically cleared to play:
Giuseppe Rossi
Chris Garcia

Predicted lineup