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Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers match preview

It’s do or die for Real Salt Lake.

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

Win and you’re in. That’s what everyone keeps saying, at least, and while it’s accurate enough, the truth is probably somewhere between the lines of that literal fact. “Win and you’re in” doesn’t quite capture the magnitude of the event: The phrase typically holds value when it’s not the end of the season, and in which the flip side (“don’t win and you’re not in”) is not the case.

But, you know, that’s beside the point. It really is a “win and you’re in” scenario with the inverse looming. (You know what phrase I prefer? Do or die.)

Match details and forecast

  • Broadcast: ESPN2
  • Kickoff Time: 3 p.m.
  • Forecast: Perfect weather, with a high around the mid-70s. We should only do midday games in this weather.

Injuries and Absences


  • Damir Kreilach
  • Bobby Wood

No other players are listed, but RSL coach Pablo Mastroeni said in an interview on ESPN 700 that “one or two” players are likely to miss the match. Who? Well, they’re keeping that close to the vest, and they don’t appear in the official injury report.

Quote of the Match

“We’ve fought hard the whole season to put ourselves in this position,” he told ESPN700’s Bill Riley. “I think it’s a better position than we were in last year, when we had to go away to get the win. We know exactly what we have to do, we have the fans behind us.”

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Stat of the Match

After a middling season, Portland Timbers strung together four consecutive wins before a draw against Columbus Crew and a loss to LAFC in their last two matches. Does it make them a formidable foe? It’s hard to say — but heating up at the right time has given them a degree of control in this one, as a draw (under the right conditions in other matches) could see them lifted above RSL.

Predicted Lineup and Formation

Herrera, Glad, Silva
Brody, Caldwell, Ojeda, Oviedo
Cordova, Savarino

Last ten matches

  • Sat., Apr 23, 2022: Portland Timbers 0-0 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., Dec 4, 2021: Portland Timbers 2-0 Real Salt Lake
  • Wed., Nov 3, 2021: Real Salt Lake 1-3 Portland Timbers
  • Sat., Sep 25, 2021: Portland Timbers 6-1 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., Aug 7, 2021: Portland Timbers 3-2 Real Salt Lake
  • Wed., Oct 14, 2020: Real Salt Lake 2-1 Portland Timbers
  • Sat., Aug 29, 2020: Portland Timbers 4-4 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., Oct 19, 2019: Real Salt Lake 2-1 Portland Timbers
  • Sat., Aug 31, 2019: Portland Timbers 1-0 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., May 4, 2019: Real Salt Lake 1-2 Portland Timbers

Big Questions

Repeat after me: Can RSL score multiple goals? Or maybe even one? The team has scored two goals in their last five games. Two. That’s not even close to good enough.