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RSL ride set pieces to playoff-clinching win

RSLTimbers (Getty)

Real Salt Lake rode some set piece magic, and some desperate second-half defending to a vital victory that secures the team's regular place in the MLS playoffs.

Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales delivered first-half free kick goals to power Real Salt Lake to a 2-1 victory against the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

The Timbers shook off those free kick goals to mount a serious challenge, with Sal Zizzo combining with Bright Dike for another goal, but the Timbers could not find the equalizer despite taking charge of the match in the second half.

Espindola opened the scoring in the 14th minute by bending a free kick around the Timbers wall to give the home team the early lead. Morales made it 2-0 in the 36th minute with an even more impressive free kick, giving Timbers goalkeeper Joe Bendik no chance with his perfect blast.

Portland put real pressure on the RSL defense in the second half, with wingers Zizzo and Franck Songo'o providing real threats on the flank. Dike could have had at least one other goal, but blasted one header off the crossbar.

The win leaves Real Salt Lake in a tie for second place with the Los Angeles Galaxy (though LA currently holds the tie-breaker based on goals scored).

Here are the match highlights:


What did you think of the match? Think RSL got lucky to escape with all three points? Impressed with the Timbers showing in the second half? See RSL finishing ahead of LA and Seattle?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. So eloquent.
    RSL are about to make their fifth straight appearance in the MLS playoffs. How many teams can say that? I don’t know the stats but it can’t be more than four. They won the cup four years ago. Have finished in the top three in the regular season two of those five years and are the only MLS team to have played in the Concacaf final in its current format. They aren’t the best team in the league right now. No one is saying they are. They are ranked about 8th in the league in almost any ranking system. How is that overrated? They are most definitely in the top 10 in the MLS.

  2. I’m sure he meant tied for second on points, thus the reference to the tie breaker.

    See, a tie breaker is what you use to break a tie when two or more things are tied and you need a way to differentiate between those tied things. Otherwise you’re stuck with two entities which are similar and one cannot be chosen over the other. It’s a mysterious practice but scholars maintain it’s origins go beyond the dawn of recorded history.

    Hope this helps!!!

  3. “The win leaves Real Salt Lake in a tie for second place with the Los Angeles Galaxy (though LA currently holds the tie-breaker based on goals scored).”

    So they’re NOT tied. LA is in 2nd and RSL is in third. Do you guys read what you write or is this blog just dictated random rambling dribble?


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