With one match to go in the regular season, RSL remains above the playoff line and can secure a spot in the playoffs with a win in Portland on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Real Salt Lake came back from international break refreshed and ready to get back on track for their final home game of the regular season. With Rusnak, Savarino, and Plata getting called up to their respective national teams and Sunny and Beckerman on suspension, the lineup saw some big changes. But those changes didn’t faze RSL as they lead 3-0 at the half and went on to win 4-1.
Nick Besler opened up his scoring account, giving RSL the early lead, and Sebastian Saucedo got his third goal of the season (5 assists), but it was Corey Baird who stole the spotlight with 1 goal and 2 assists (now 8 goals and 5 assists in 2018). Damir Kreilach’s goal brought him to 12 goals and 8 assists, Albert Rusnak has 10 goals and 7 assists, Joao Plata has 8 goals and 8 assists, and Jefferson Savarino has 7 goals and 11 assists.
2. Rusnak, Savarino, Plata, and Glad were benched on Thursday night and Kreilach was substituted late in the match, allowing them to be rested for Sunday’s regular-season finale in Portland. RSL remains in 6th place in the western conference and a win in Portland would secure their playoff position, while a draw or loss would open the door for L.A. Galaxy or Vancouver, who have two matches remaining each. RSL is 3-10-3 on the road this season and 2-10-5 at Portland all-time, but their 4-1 win in Portland last summer should give RSL fans some hope for this vital match.
3. Portland Timbers are currently sitting in 5th place in the western conference with 51 points and a record of 14-9-9. Portland has not played since their last match, against RSL, two weeks ago and will also have Ridgewell back from suspension for the match. Diego Valeri leads Portland with 10 goals and 11 assists, Samuel Armenteros has 8 goals and 1 assist, and Sebastian Blanco has 9 goals and 10 assists. Former RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella remains questionable for this match with a shoulder injury along with Alvas Powell (head injury) and Kendall McIntosh (head injury). Roy Miller (right thigh injury) and Jake Gleeson (bilateral tibial stress fracture) are ruled out.
Our coverage of Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers begins on Sunday, October 20 at 2 P.M. with Spencer Warne and Tom Hackett, kick-off at 3 P.M. with Bill Riley and Jay Nolly.