Portland Timbers 1, Real Salt Lake 0 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
The Portland Timbers still aren't guaranteed a shot at defending their 2015 MLS Cup title, but they bought themselves some breathing room above the red line with this one.
Fanendo Adi's first-half goal stood up for a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night, keeping the sixth-place Timbers four points ahead of Vancouver Whitecaps FC with five matches to play. Earlier Saturday, Vancouver put pressure on their Cascadia rivals with a 3-1 road victory over Columbus Crew SC.
Olmes Garcia put the ball in the net at the end of a bizarre sequence late in the second half, when RSL attempted a quick restart while Portland's players were arguing en masse with referee Drew Fischer, but the goal was not allowed. Even after that, Portland still needed a block from 90th-minute sub Jermaine Taylor, who denied Yura Movsisyan in stoppage time, to seal the victory.
- ADI NETS FOURTH V. RSL: Playing against Real Salt Lake has been good for Fanendo Adi's goalscoring numbers. Adi has found the net 14 times this MLS season, counting Saturday night's match-winner -- and four of those goals, more than a quarter of his total, have come against RSL. For his career, Adi has scored seven goals in seven matches against the Utah side.
- MIDFIELD MENACE: He didn't show up in the scoresheet, but Darlington Nagbe was a beast in the middle of the park for the Timbers on Saturday night. Nagbe completed 26 of his 28 pass attempts and created Adi's goalscoring opportunity with a nifty move to get past RSL defensive mid Kyle Beckerman.
- SUNNY'S RETURN: Midfielder Sunny returned to Real Salt Lake's lineup on Saturday night, after missing 13 matches with facial fractures sustained in a collision with New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles on June 22. He started and went 76 minutes before being lifted for Olmes Garcia.
- POR: CCL – Wednesday, September 14 at Deportivo Saprissa, 10pm ET (UDN, Facebook.com)
- RSL: Saturday, September 17 vs. Houston Dynamo, 9:30pm ET (MLS LIVE)