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Portland Timbers Triumph 3-1 Over Real Salt Lake

The Timbers got their first ever win in Salt Lake today.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

After a slow start the Portland Timbers rolled over Real Salt Lake thanks to a brace from Fanendo Adi and another excellent offensive performance. Running out the 3-1 winners, the Timbers extended their streak of road victories to three and climbed up the Western Conference ladder, ending the night with 19 points and possession of the 6th place spot.

The first half started with another early goal conceded in Salt Lake by the Timbers as, in the 23', the Timbers' defense seemed to unravel on a Salt Lake corner kick. Javier Morales sent a low ball into the box, begging to be headed away by the first defender. However, it was Diego Chara on the spot and he was only able to get a glancing header to the ball, which skimmed off his head and fell to Luke Mulholland, standing aline at the penalty spot. After a touch to control the ball, Mulholland let rip a low, hard volley on goal, beating Donovan Ricketts and rippling the back of the net to open the scoring at 1-0 RSL.

With the Timbers now down a goal, the match seemed likely to devolve into yet another unfortunate loss at Rio Tinto Stadium, but, as they have done so often, the Timbers fought back into the match, grabbing a goal of their own in the 36'. After a turnover in their own end, the Timbers streamed down the pitch on the break, taking the game to RSL. Gaston Fernandez carried the ball in on goal, only to have it knocked out for a corner kick.

Diego Valeri stepped up to the corner flag for the Timbers and curled in a beautiful kick that landed perfectly at the head of Adi. Adi, who was fighting through the physical defending of Chris Schuler, got a head on the ball, sending it down and into the goal past a diving Jeff Attinella to tie up the score at one a piece.

The Timbers were not done there, however. In the 45' the Timbers once again broke down the pitch and again it was Fernandez carrying the ball as they drove at the RSL defense. Waiting until the last possible second, Fernandez played in Darlington Nagbe, who powered a driven ball at Attinella. The RSL keeper managed to get a hand on the ball, but he could not deflect it wide of the net. The ball did, however, bounce off of defender Chris Wingert, who happened to be in the right place at the right time to save the goal.

RSL's luck did not last, though, as the ball deflected off Wingert and fell to Adi. Unmolested, Adi took his time lining up a shot, then buried the ball into the back of the net just the the defenders surrounding him realized what was going on.

The second half started with the Timbers now holding a 2-1 lead over RSL. Although the Timbers have not been a sure thing to hold a lead this year, the scoreline looked much more assured when, in the 54', RSL fullback Tony Beltran was given a matching set of yellow cards for a pair of fouls on Darlington Nagbe.

Now a man up, the Timbers controlled the match and pushed forward looking for a third goal, something they would find in the 73'. The Timbers third goal once again came on the break as Steve Zakuani, brought on for Fernandez, played a quick wall pass off of Valeri then took off with the ball down the Timbers' left flank. Drawing in two defenders, Zakuani made space in the center of the pitch then slipped the ball into the box for Valeri to run onto as he followed the play.

In on goal with the keeper in front of him and defenders converging all around, Valeri played a quick pass across the face of goal, only to have it intercepted by the arm of a sliding Schuler. The referee had no hesitation as he pointed to the spot giving the Timbers their first penalty of the season.

Will Johnson confidently stepped up to the spot for the Timbers and looked businesslike as he converted the penalty, shooting low and to his left, while sending Attinella to his right. With the score now 3-1, the Timbers salted away the match, keeping RSL from many truely dangerous chances until the final whistle.