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Portland Timbers Fight Back for 2-2 Draw Against Real Salt Lake

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Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers went down by two goals, but managed to fight their way back to a 2-2 draw against a bunkering Real Salt Lake side with some help from a pair of RSL red cards.

Things got off to a bad start in the 16th minute when Juan Manuel Martinez went down just outside the Timbers' box following a protracted battle with Diego Chara. The foul was soft but it was given and the imposing duo of Joao Plata and Javier Morales stood over the ball, ready to curl a ball on goal. Morales started his run up first and Adam Kwarasey bit hard, cheating to his left, only to see Morales step over the ball and Plata hit a hard-dipping effort just over the wall and back to Kwarasey's right. With the ball headed one way and his momentum the other, Kwarasey could only look back ruefully as the free kick rippled the back of the net.

With the Timbers now looking to get back in the match, a helping hand would come from an unexpected source: RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman. Holding up the ball in the center of the pitch, Beckerman did not see Fanendo Adi sneaking up behind him. As the Timbers' big man took the ball off Beckerman's foot, he lunged for it, missing the ball and instead planting his studs into Adi's shin. With Adi rolling the ground, referee Hilario Grajeda had no hesitation in showing Beckerman the red and giving the Timbers a man advantage.

The Timbers would press their advantage, looking to keep RSL penned up in their end of the pitch and for half an hour it worked until an errant clearance from Nat Borchers in the 58th minute saw RSL forward Yura Movsisyan close him down, fight out of the grasp of the Timbers defender, and take off toward goal. With only Kwarasey between him and the back of the net, Movsisyan lined up his shot and calmly slipped the ball past the keeper to put RSL up 2-0.

With things looking dire from the stands, however, the Timbers were not giving up. Continuing to keep RSL under pressure, the Timbers got the ball to Dairon Asprilla in the RSL box in the 79th minute. With just inches of space, Asprilla fired off a quick shot that rang off the crossbar. With the RSL defenders spinning, Adi was on hand for the rebound, hitting the ball first time past Rimando and into the back of the net to get the Timbers back in the match.

Things got even crazier in the 84th minute as the Timbers streamed down the pitch. With the ball about to be served into the box, Jamison Olave swung a hand into the face of Adi, knocking down the Timbers' striker and immediately drawing the attention of the assistant referee. As Grajeda caught up to the play he was quick to give Olave the red and award the Timbers a penalty. After a moment on the pitch it was Adi who stepped up to the spot and, with Rimando diving the wrong way, he converted the chance with a low, hard shot, knotting up the score at 2-2.

The Timbers kept up the pressure in the final minutes of the match, looking for the last second winner, but 9-man RSL stood strong and were able to deny the Timbers the full three points.

The Timbers are back in action on April 3rd as they travel to Florida to take on Orlando City SC.