Photo by Joe Camporeale / USA Today Sports Images
By ADAM TROXTELL
In a return to Rio Tinto to face his former club, Nat Borchers sank the hearts of fans he once lifted.
The Portland Timbers defender scored in a minute over the allotted added time to give the visitors a 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake. Both teams produced numerous chances to score throughout the evening, but missed chances and good goalkeeping kept things scoreless until the very end.
Nick Rimando produced three saves, while RSL defender Sebastian Saucedo was on the goal line to stop a Borchers effort in the second half. There was nothing either of them could do about the winner, though, as Borchers got enough space to head a corner kick down into the bottom left corner with seconds remaining.
The Timbers eased into the game, withstanding a barrage from RSL in the first half to eventually grab a win that takes them to fourth in the Western Conference. RSL sits second from last, but they are also just three points away from the final playoff spot.
The home side looked like it might take a step toward the postseason in the first half. Olmes Garcia sent a wide-open opportunity inches over the bar, and Sebastian Jaime failed to score a few minutes later when Garcia set him up at the near post.
Luke Mulholland had a spectacular volleyed effort tipped wide by Adam Kwarasey in the 31st minute. Eventually the tables turned as the Timbers took charge, but the results stayed mostly the same.
Rimando stopped both Maxi Urruti and Diego Valeri strikes to maintain RSL’s chance of finding a winner at the other end. Both sides put five shots on target each, but the Timbers found the all-important one to go over the line.
The corner came off of Valeri’s foot, swinging out where Borchers met the ball near the center of the box. His header hit the ground, but it bounced just far enough out of Rimando’s reach to settle into the net.
With his former employer taken care of, Borchers and the Timbers next return home to face the Houston Dynamo on Friday. RSL welcomes another opponent from Cascadia when the Seattle Sounders come to town on Saturday.