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Rimando’s heroics earn RSL tie, hurting Timbers’ playoff hopes

RSL-POR by Susan Ragan USA TODAY

Photo by Susan Ragan/USA TODAY Sports


PORTLAND, Ore. — In a season that saw so many high scoring slugfests at Providence Park, it was the goalkeepers who took center stage Friday night in Portland. Donovan Ricketts and Nick Rimando stole the show as Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers battled to a scoreless draw in Portland’s home season finale.

Ricketts, a two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, and Nick Rimando, a four-time MLS all-star, both kept their teams in the match with outstanding saves. Ricketts denied Robbie Findlay with a sprawling one armed denial late in the first half.

Not to be outdone, Rimando finished the night with six saves, none better than his out-of-nowhere diving stop to deny Darlington Nagbe in the second half. Despite attempting 23 shots, 19 of which were inside the 18-yard box, Portland was unable to find a way to unlock Rimando.

“When (Rimando) does retire, and hopefully it’s soon, he’s going to go down as one of the best goalkeepers in the history of this league,” Caleb Porter said. “He came up big for them and that’s probably the difference on the day.”

The US International also had some help in the second half when Luis Gil denied the Timbers when he stopped a Norberto Paparatto header that appeared to be headed into the goal.

“Rimando was making some unbelievable saves and some of the chances were just downright unlucky,” Timbers midfielder Ben Zemanski said.

The end of the match saw the Timbers bench and coach Caleb Porter livid over a no-call in the RSL penalty area where it appeared the ball hit Nat Borchers in the arm. But no call came and Portland was stuck with a tie to end their home season.

“I can’t fault our guys for anything, I thought they played their hearts,” Porter said. “I’m proud of their effort.”

Portland was shutout for the first time since July 13 and for just the fifth time all season. The shutout was Rimando’s 114th of his career, which is the most in MLS history.

With the draw, the Timbers move into a tie with Vancouver for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings. However, the Whitecaps have a game in hand and will take on the struggling San Jose Earthquakes Saturday where they could go three points up with one match to play.

“We’re still alive and this team doesn’t die easy. We got our backs up against the wall, yet again, and hopefully we get a little luck and Vancouver loses a game,” Zemanski said. “We have enough momentum and confidence in our play right now  where we can go on the road to Dallas and get three points.”

For only the second time in eight matches, Gil was in the starting lineup, taking the place of Luke Mulholland, who was being rested by coach Jeff Cassar. Gil almost gave RSL the lead early in the match, but his fourth minute deflected shot flew just wide of the net.

With the point, Real Salt Lake now finds itself two points ahead of FC Dallas for third place in the West. Dallas will take on Colorado Saturday with the chance to move a point clear of RSL.

Before Portland travels to Texas for its season finale, they will head to Central America to take on CD Olimpia of Honduras in the final match of group play in the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday. A win or draw will be enough to advance Portland to the knockout stage, while a loss could also be enough depending on the score.

“We need to shift gears and focus our attention on the Champions League,” Porter said.

Here are the match highlights:


  1. This match is on Nagbe. Walks in on goal and doesn’t even get a shot off. Shoots the ball into Rimando on the second chance. ZERO goals in 33 matches. Unacceptable.

    • Nagbe appears to be a true enigma on this site. As a Galaxy fan who could care less whether he is Pele or Andrew Shue, I have been impressed sometimes by Nagbe in my limited yet not insignificant observations of him over the last few years. But it’s strange– there are people on this site (credible ones) who insist Nagbe would be an automatic starter in the event he ever actually becomes USMNT eligible.

      Personally it has always seemed like a reach, but am always curious to see how others think of it.

      • 2013 Nagbe looked like that USMNT player. 2014 Nagbe has been a mess … not sure whether married life and having a kid has changed him or what, but there just isn’t that extra gear nor killer instinct this year.

        I for one hope he finds “it” again. He is a very talented player but took a clear step back (or 2, 3 +) this year.

      • I am a diehard fan of both the Timbers and USMNT. I have not missed one of Nagbe’s matches the past four years. He is a better athlete than a soccer player and has no real defined position.

        His best asset is his speed, which would lend me to believe that he might be most useful as a forward stretching a back line. He can’t cross the ball and isn’t really a playmaker either.

        My biggest issue with him is he lacks bite and nerve. Use Manneh as a contrast who goes right at people. For the USMNT, not a prayer he would be a starter right now. He would be a fringe player in the pool.

    • First of all, that was an absolutely outrageous save that Rimando had on Nagbe, and 95% of the time that will be a goal. He could have, and probably should have, done better on the second, but it wasn’t one of those breakaways that is an automatic goal.

      I understand why people are frustrated with his scoring record, and that’s fair, but he’s still an amazingly skilled player who creates as many chances as anyone on the team (except Valarie). He shouldn’t be the scapegoat for the team’s season.

      • Maybe I agree with you…but

        One that was the season and they needed a big play, right there, right then.

        Two, I saw almost every game this year. It was a little indicative of the season. Not as good as last year, still very good, but they were in contention last

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