The Portland Timbers looked destined for a point as they went into second half stoppage time against Real Salt Lake, but never count out Nat Borchers. The Timbers defender came up big in the final seconds of the match as the Timbers grabbed all three point in an extra time victory.
After a first half dominated by RSL and a second half mostly dominated by RSL, the Timbers broke down the pitch as the third of three minutes of stoppage time wound down, swinging the ball to substitute Maximiliano Urruti on the left wing. The Argentine forward cut inside and clipped a quick shot at the far post, but the Timbers-killer, Nick Rimando, was able to push the ball just wide.
With the Timbers now set to take a corner that would be the final action of the match, Diego Valeri hit an out-swinging ball into the RSL box. With RSL looking for game winner, it was Nat Borchers who would get a head on the ball, hitting a hard header down and skipping it off the pitch. Rimando, who had stoned the Timbers all match, could only swipe at the bouncing ball as it hit the back of the net, giving the Timbers the game's only goal.
Despite RSL's control of the ball for much of the match, the Timbers had a number of chances to open the scoring earlier in the. It was always Borchers, however, who looked most likely to score.
Halfway through the second half, Borchers got another head on a ball into the RSL box, hammering the ball at the upper ninety of the goal. It was not to be then, however, as an RSL defender jumped up on the goal line and headed the ball away even as Rimando was beaten.
The chances were not all going the Timbers' way. In the early going it was RSL who looked most likely to score. In the 78th minute, it was Luis Silva who looked like he had the game winner, getting in one on one with Adam Kwarasey after a Timbers giveaway. The Timbers' keeper was equal to the task, however, making the save and then scrambling to knock the ball away before the rebound could be put away.
The Timbers return home to play the Houston Dynamo at Providence Park on Friday. With the win, the Timbers pass up FC Dallas on the table and move into fourth place in the Western Conference.