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

It’s an actual must-win game for Real Salt Lake if they want to make the playoffs

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Real Salt Lake are in the habit of waiting until decision day to make the playoffs and this season is no different. After sending all season well above the playoff line, RSL are winless in their last five games and must win today in order to get back above the playoff line. A draw does them no good. They have to win. Portland (6th), Minnesota (7th), RSL (8th), and Vancouver (9th) are all fighting for those final two playoff spots in the west. There’s a lot on the line today.

Where are the goals?

In their last five games (two draws, three losses), RSL have just two goals. That’s a terrible run. RSL have struggled with goal creation and finishing all season. It is a promising sign that Cordova was able to score against the Galaxy last weekend, though they could not secure a win on the road. With a win being essential for a post season, will the team start more attackers in hopes of breaking down Portland’s defense?

The Brians

Braian Ojeda and Bryan Oviedo are starting to see minutes with RSL. It’s come at a tough time for the team, but it has been interesting to watch what they bring to the team. Oviedo, who traditionally has been a left back, has been slotted into a right midfield role. It’s a move that can bring his talent onto the field while Pablo Mastroeni employs a three man backline.

Luna and Julio

Diego Luna and Anderson Julio have been relegated to the realm of substation players. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but they are both talented, even if not fully developed. Julio brings a speed and bite to the attack that no one else has, and Luna offers some creativity in the middle that’s not quite Sava’s skillset. Will these two offer a spark to allow RSL to win over Portland?

Injury report

Out: Bobby Wood, Damir Kreilach