Recap: RSL @ POR
WHAT A GAME!!! You don’t see that very often! Real Salt Lake got it done at the JELD-WEN Field against the Portland Timbers winning in style 3-2. Both teams held the lead and both teams came from behind.
Real started off the first half with a strong line-up and were able to hold together good spells of possession. However, RSL seemed to have some trouble in front of the Timbers’ goal. That all changed in the 39th minute when midfielder Ned Grabavoy collected the ball at the top of the 18-yard box. He turned into the penalty area only to have a Portland defender stop the progress of the ball with his outstretched hand. Alvaro Saborio calmly converted the penalty kick to score his first goal of this season in his first start.
Momentum suddenly switched in the second half with two fantastic strikes from second-year Portland player Darlington Nagbe. Real was struggling without much time left on the clock.
Jason Kreis saw the need for change and subsequently inserted Will Johnson for Luis Gil and later threw in Jonny Steele and Fabian Espindola for Tony Beltran and Paulo Jr. Those three final subs may well have won the game for RSL.
As the rain drenched the turf of JELD-WEN in the 89th minute, Real Salt Lake found just enough space to play in a packed Portland penalty area. Jonny Steele made a quick run across the top of the box and played a quick wall pass with fellow substitute Will Johnson and slotted the ball past a diving Troy Perkins. Steele leveled up the score at 2-2 in only his third substitute appearance for Real Salt Lake. Steele is yet to start a game and hasn’t been given enough time to really find opportunities. Don’t be surprised if that changes! Jonny Steele showed what he can do for this club and I can guarantee that he’ll find himself with a lot more playing time throughout the remainder of the 2012 season.
But that wasn’t the end of the drama! In the final minute of stoppage time, third and final substitute Fabian Espindola found some space on the left side of the attacking third. He quickly spotted Kyle Beckerman and played a beautiful chip-pass over the heads of Portland Timber defenders to the top of the penalty area where Beckerman called Steele off the ball and pounded a perfectly timed volley into the bottom corner of the net.
And that was that! A 3-2 victory for the claret and cobalt! This was a perfect way to bounce back from the 1-0 home loss to Chivas USA.
Next up, Real features against expansion side Montreal at Rio Tinto Stadium in what should be a great contest!