I don’t know what it is, but when Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers play each other, the goals are scored in bucket loads. RSL seem to be the one team that Portland just cannot figure out though. Portland normally have a .89 goals against average, but against RSL it is an outstanding 2.25.
In the 14th minute, it was Portland who took the lead through former RSL man, and current Timbers Captain, Will Johnson. Valeri won a free kick off of a tackle from RSL defender, Chris Wingert, that Johnson stepped up to take, sent Nick Rimando the wrong way, and shot the ball into the back of the net to give his team the lead.
Perfect service from a Javier Morales corner kick found the head of Salt Lake defender, Chris Schuler, who helped it find the back of the net tying the game and sending Rio Tinto Stadium into a frenzy. RSL weren’t done though. In the 38th minute, they almost took the lead when another Morales corner kick found Schuler, who headed it off of a Portland player who would have deflected it into his own goal if it weren’t for Diego Valeri waiting on the line to clear it. The home team finally did take the lead in the 41st minute when forward, Robbie Findley, pressured Futty Danso into making a mistake which he pounced on and slipped past Ricketts. 2-1 RSL.
In the second half, RSL came ready to score more goals. Javier Morales played a perfect ball into space for the speedy Robbie Findley. Findley passed it to rookie, Devon Sandoval, who calmly put it into the net. 3-1 RSL. While that score line would be a good one to defend in the second leg in Portland, the home team were out for blood. In the 82nd minute, Joao Plata took a corner that found Javier Morales. Morales cooly headed the ball into the net, and celebrated proudly in front of fans.
Portland were able to pull one goal back in stoppage time to save themselves from complete embarrassment, and to set up the second leg for an entertaining match. 4-2 RSL.