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Saborio hat-trick leads RSL in rout of Timbers

AlvaroSaborio (Getty)

Real Salt Lake entered Saturday night looking to halt a four-match winless skid and looking to reassert their place as an MLS Cup favorite and Western Conference title contender.

RSL accomplished all those things with one dominating display at Rio Tinto Stadium. Alvaro Saborio notched a hat trick to help give Real Salt Lake a 3-0 victory against the Portland Timbers.

The Timbers defended well in the first half, keeping RSL off the board, but Real Salt Lake finally broke through in the 60th minute when Saborio finished off a Kyle Beckerman pass to open the scoring. He added his second just two minutes later before capping his hat-trick with a 75th-minute penalty kick.

The loss was a bitter pill for a Timbers side that came in feeling good after a crucial mid-week victory against MLS leaders San Jose. On Saturday, Portland was thoroughly dominated, and didn't muster a single shot on goal all night.

Some of the credit for RSL's dominating defensive showing has to go to star centerback Jamison Olave, who return to action after missing the past four matches with an injury. It isn't a coincidence that RSL failed to win a match without the imposing Colombian defender.

Here are the match highlights:

What did you think of the match? Impressed with RSL's offense on the night? Disappointed with Portland's non-existent offense?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The referees are just plain bad in MLS but we all know that. It was clear from the first whistle that Chara and Palmer were just playing the man, Javier, and not the ball. It continued all night long with cheap shots from behind. These were not good professional fouls or even late challenges while trying to play the ball. They were cheap shots meant to take the opposing team out of rhythm.

    Yes, the refs need to be much better early on in taking control. But the coaches in this league also need to be held accountable. This was clearly a team strategy to commit cheap fouls and antagonize. That is not acceptable and MLS needs to look into it. Playing a defensive style and sitting back is fine. Even physical defense and professional fouls are fine. But the cheap shots and targeting of specific players has to be stopped in MLS.

  2. It really comes down to the referees being able to control the game. This ref lost control early in the 2nd half.

    It really felt like the game against Chivas where Javi got that nasty injury. The ref had no control, and didn’t even give a card until he actually saw Javi’s injury. Unless the referees are willing (and able) to take control of the game, more injuries like this will happen and the league will suffer as a result.

    I have to ask again, why are referees in the MLS so bad? I know it seems cliche, but its actually still a huge problem, and not just with the newer refs.

  3. I saw the video of that hacks on Javier Morales–cannot believe the first was not a red card. I found this article written over a year ago about Javi hacks and his broken leg and teammates were saying then then it was only a question of time. And if he ends up, as you say, with another gruesome injury it will be impossible to forgive MLS management for allowing this to continue on and on and on…

    I don’t understand why the MLS Players Union does not get involved in this and demand more protection for players.

    Real Salt Lake doesn’t believe Javier Morales’ injury was a coincidence

  4. Agreed. The whole team was after him. He was livid midway through the second match and had every right to be. Timbers were playing a little thugish last night. 17 fouls, 5 yellow cards and a red (granted from a hand ball).

  5. The “Hack Javi” nonsense must stop or he is going to suffer another gruesome injury. How many times? Every single team does the same thing every week over and over with the late tackles or tackles from behind.

    We need to protect the skill players in MLS or it will turn back to hackball of 2001.

  6. Futty Danso should have been red carded. I don’t see how punching, or slapping a guy in the face can get you a red card, but fish hooking a guy who just made you look silly and blew past you is not a straight red.

  7. The only good thing from Portland in that stadium was the Timbers army. I thought they had energy.

    One thing was pretty clear and that was the Timbers had very little shot of getting the ball in the net.


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