Portland Timbers Fall 1-0 to Nick Rimando and Real Salt Lake

Gene Sweeney Jr.

The RSL keeper was unbeatable tonight as the Timbers continued their winless streak.

The Portland Timbers were shut out by Real Salt Lake in Sandy, UT thanks to a virtuoso performance from Nick Rimando that saw the home team come out of the game as 1-0 winners. Despite an excellent goal from Ned Grababvoy, Rimando was the difference maker for RSL on the night, making four saves that had the whole of MLS singing his praises.

The Timbers had the first good chance of the night thanks to a moment of individual brilliance from Darlington Nagbe. In the 19', Nagbe received the ball on in the center of the pitch with defenders in front of him. With a burst of speed, Nagbe fought his way past Nat Borchers and into the RSL Box. From just outside the six yard box, Nagbe fired high at the near post only for Nick Rimando to somehow get a hand to the shot, blocking it up and over the goal.

In the 57', the Timbers came knocking again as Darlington Nagbe broke up an attack on the left flank and the ball popped out of the scrum to the feet of Maximiliano Urruti. Charging forward, Urruti ate up space until the Salt Lake defenders began to step to him, then fired off a shot destined for the upper corner of the net, just inside the near post. Instead it was Rimando once again who got a finger to the ball and changed it's trajectory from just under the crossbar to striking it squarely.

The Timbers continued their push forward, piling the pressure on, only to suddenly find themselves on the back foot in the 78'. Ned Grabavoy, who shares the title of the most underrated player in MLS with Diego Chara, picked up the ball ten yards from the Timbers box and, with a tricky change of pace, blew by Nagbe before unleashing a hard, low shot that snuck just past the outstretched arms of Donovan Ricketts and into the back of the net, giving RSL the 1-0 lead.

There were more chances to come for the Timbers, however, as they pressed forward in desperation. In the 85', Gaston Fernandez found his fellow substitute Alvas Powell making a run into the RSL box. Fernandez slipped a ball through the defense, finding Powell in stride to strike it first time. With Rimando going to the near post, Powell put the ball behind the RSL keeper in what looked like a sure goal, only to have Rimando's trailing leg somehow stay planted and knock the ball away.

Three minutes later in the 88', Fernandez had a chance of his own, cutting the ball back at the top of the RSL box to shake his man before sending in a curling shot  aimed at the far corner of the net. Again, however, Rimando was equal to the task, making an acrobatic save to push the ball wide of the post and preserve his 111th regular season shutout.

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