Real Salt Lake put an end to their 4-game winless skid with a 2-1 win over 2nd-place Portland Timbers, who were on a 5-game winning streak until it came to an end at Rio Tinto Stadium tonight. Goals from Douglas Martinez and Damir Kreilach in the first half sealed the win for the home team, earning them a much-needed three points.
Nedum Onuoha made his return to the lineup after being out listed as not medically cleared to play. Nick Besler started next to Pablo Ruiz at holding midfielder, and Douglas Martinez got the nod up top while Kreilach pulled the strings in Rusnak’s absence, and Maikel Chang and Corey Baird held the wings.
RSL got the jump early in the first half thanks to a gaffe from Timbers keeper Ivacic. Aaron Herrera sent a long ball in from behind half field toward Kreilach who was streaking toward the goal. Ivacic came off his line and got to the ball before Kreilach did, but he dove and pushed it out right toward Martinez. Douglas collected it and easily slotted it into the net, putting RSL up with a rare early first half lead.
Kreilach doubled the lead in the 27th minute off a beautifully placed corner kick from Pablo Ruiz. The ball sailed in to the far side of the box where Kreilach had broken free of his mark, and nailed the ball right past Ivacic before the ball even hit the ground. Kreilach grabbed his 8th goal of the year as RSL’s lead increased to 2-0.
The stats on paper at the end of the first half accurately depicted how the first 45 minutes were played — RSL outshot the Timbers 9-1 overall, with four of those shots on target. The home side also enjoyed 54% of possession as they truly did control the tempo of the entire half while keeping the Timbers largely on their back foot.
The 76th minute saw Portland finally pull one back when Diego Valeri sent a free kick in that found its way to Bill Tuiloma’s head. The ball sailed just under the crossbar and past Andrew Putna.
Despite a few more good chances for Portland, RSL was able to hold them off and end the game with a 2-1 win. RSL has 10 days off until October 24th when they will take on FC Dallas at home.