Two late Real Salt Lake goals see the Timbers blow a two-goal lead and drop two points in Providence Park.
The Portland Timbers hosted Real Salt Lake at Providence park on August 29. Both teams were back in action after participating in the player strike to protest police brutality earlier in the week.
Giovanni Savarese decided to give Jaroslaw Niezgoda his first start at Providence Park. Savarese started the Pole as the highest attacker and elected to start Jeremy Ebobisse, who usually leads the line, on the right wing.
The match kicked off with a bang. Diego Chara scored after just six minutes. The Timbers pressed Real Salt Lake high up the pitch and forced goalkeeper Andrew Putna into a bad give away that landed right at the feet of Chara. He took one touch to round the keeper and calmly slotted the ball into the empty net.
Real Salt Lake responded with sustained pressure. They pinned the Timbers in their own box and created multiple opportunities, but Timbers’ keeper came up with big saves.
The visitors looked most dangerous on set pieces. In the 19th minute, Real Salt Lake won a free-kick. The second ball pinballed around in the box and fell to the feet of Corey Baird, who dispatched it into the goal.
It was the Timbers turn to respond. Ebobisse won a corner immediately. Diego Valeri took the corner and notched his 83rd regular season assist, tying him for 11th-most in league history. Niezgoda repaid Savarese’s faith by nodding the Valeri pass into the net to put the Timbers up 2-1.
Real Salt Lake looked much better than the Timbers in the first half, but Portland was able to take their chances. This trend continued at the start of the second half. Real Salt Lake scored three minutes into the half. It came from a set piece again. The Timbers were unable to clear the second ball, and Damir Kreilach was there to tie the match.
In the second half, the Timbers continued to struggle in possession. But in the 60th minute they started to string together a few passes and create chances on goal. The offensive chances slowed for Portland until the 70th minute.
Sebastian Blanco cut in on his left foot, at the top of the box, and unleashed a thunder strike that curled into the top corner of Putna’s net. After the goal, the Timbers started creating more. Both Valeri and Blanco had chances that they couldn’t finish.
Real Salt Lake thought they found the equalizer late in the game, but the strike hit the post and the Timbers countered quickly. Within a few seconds, Felipe Mora put the ball in the back of the net. The substitute gave Portland a two goal lead, but it wouldn’t last.
Real Salt Lake got within one as Giuseppe Rossi made it 4-3 late in the match — and in the dying moments Sam Johnson tied the match at 4-4 after questionable defending in the Timbers’ own box.