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RSL loses 3-1 to Portland, playoff fate comes down to Decision Day

Real Salt Lake dropped a big result at home to the Timbers, leaving their playoff fate to be decided on Sunday in Kansas City.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake couldn’t get anything going against Portland as they dropped a 3-1 result. A win would have secured their spot in the playoffs, but a disjointed team couldn’t get it done at home. They’ll go on the road to take on a tough Sporting Kansas City team in the final game of the season. A win on Decision Day would still see RSL squeak their way into the playoffs, but any other result will end their 2021 season.

Portland opened the scoring early in the first half as Sebastian Blanco headed the ball past David Ochoa in the 17th minute. It came off a corner kick and Blanco got to the ball well before Ochoa could react, putting the visitors up 1-0.

Blanco worked some magic near the end of the first half also, faking out Justen Glad on the right side of the box before sending a cross in. A lunging Aaron Herrera attempted to clear the ball but accidentally put it into the back of the net giving the visitors a 2-0 lead in the 38th minute.

Sebastian Blanco struck yet again in the 45th minute just before halftime when the Timbers caught RSL on a counter attack. The RSL defense just couldn’t scramble back in time and the ball found its way to Blanco at the far post and he tapped it in for an easy goal, giving Portland a comfortable 3-0 lead going into the halftime break.

RSL came out in the second half just as lackluster as they left the first. Portland had some golden chances that they didn’t put away, and RSL had a couple shots that tested Timbers ‘keeper Steve Clark.

Portland got called for a handball in the box in the dying minutes of the game, and Albert Rusnak calmly converted the penalty kick giving RSL a consolation goal in the 88th minute.

The home side, despite a spark of energy from late game sub Anderson Julio, wasn’t able to find the back of the net again, giving up all three points at home.