The Portland Timbers trounced Real Salt Lake 6-1 in Providence Park on Saturday night. Felipe Mora, Dairon Asprilla, Yimmi Chara, Diego Chara, Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Cristhian Paredes all scored for the Timbers.
After beating LAFC 2-1 a week prior the Timbers hosted Real Salt Lake, who were just one point behind the Timbers in the standings in the final match of a three-game home stand. RSL came into the match having scored 10 goals in their previous three games but goals from Felipe Mora, Dairon Asprilla, and both of the Chara brothers were enough to rout the club from Utah.
The Timbers almost got off to a flying start in the second minute of the match when Claudio Bravo floated a cross to Bill Tuiloma in the box but the center back, who was filling in for the suspended Larrys Mabiala, sent his header off the frame of the goal.
Portland were close to opening the scoring again in the 11th minute when Bravo sent another beautiful cross toward Asprilla at the back post but RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa was able to close down the forward.
Despite the Timbers’ fast start to the match, RSL began to control possession around the 15th minute, creating several chances of their own over the next 10 minutes. But it would be Portland who struck first in the 27th minute after a lightning-quick counterattack. Captain Diego Chara sent Sebastian Blanco through on goal and Blanco was able to square the ball to an open Felipe Mora, who smashed the ball into the net.
The Timbers would double their lead in the 36th minute of the match. From a free kick deep in Portland’s own half, Zuparic launched a route-one ball up to Dairon Asprilla, who was able to outjump Toni Datkovic and head the ball into the net.
But the Timbers would be pegged back just before half-time when Tuiloma misplayed a header backward in the box, allowing Damir Krelaich to poke the ball past Steve Clark in the 41st minute. The score would remain 2-1 in favor of Portland at the end of a relatively even first half.
RSL was able to control 60.8 percent of the possession during the half but both teams went into the break with eight shots. Aside from the RSL goal, the half went about as well as it could have for the Timbers. Leading 2-1 despite only recording 40 percent of the possession really highlights Portland’s ability to be ruthless on the counter attack.
Portland wasted no time reclaiming their two-goal advantage when the teams came back out for the second half. Yimmi Chara and Blanco combined on the left wing, playing a one-two with each other to spring the former into the box before calmly curling a strike into the back of the net to make the score 3-1.
Portland would continue the rout the 68th minute with another incredible counterattack. This time Diego Chara supplied the finish from distance after Yimmi played an inch-perfect pass to his older brother, who had all the time in the world to strike the Timbers’ fourth goal of the match.
In my opinion, this game was the best performance we’ve seen from the Timbers from start to finish this season. The forwards will get the plaudits, and they definitely deserve them after an absolute masterclass in counter attacking but this was also a really impressive display from the defense and midfield. Other than Tuiloma’s mistake that led to RSL’s goal, the Timbers were able to limit their opponents to shots from distance due to relentless pressing and the team’s desire to close off passing lanes.
Sebastian Blanco continued his season-changing form since his return from injury, notching another two assists and applying relentless pressure in both attack and defense before being substituted in the 80th minute of the match.
Jarek Niezgoda would add a fifth Timbers’ goal in the 85th minute, scoring his first goal from his first shot since returning from injury. Cristhian Paredes would complete the rout with a sixth goal in the 88th minute, rifling a shot past Ochoa into the roof of the net.
The 6-1 win ties the largest win in Timbers history and pushes them into fourth place in the Western Conference. An absolutely dominant display from a resurgent Timbers team. Liam Ridgewell said it best in his first game as a broadcaster: It feels like something special is happening with this team.
The Timbers will travel south to take on LAFC in their next game, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Sept. 29.