Kickoff: September 22, 2012 5:00pm PST
Sandy, Utah – NBC Sports
While Portland did have a tough middle-portion of their 2012 MLS campaign, the Timbers have seen a resurgence that has led them to be much more competitive in their games as of late.
Real Salt Lake is looking to remain one of the top teams in the Western Conference and secure a position in the 2012 MLS playoffs.
Real Salt Lake has a 2-1-1 edge over the Timbers in matchup history between the two teams, scoring seven goals over Portland’s four. The last time these two teams met, Alvaro Saborio of Salt Lake scored a hat trick to give RSL a convincing victory over the Timbers who were reeling at the time.
This time, the Timbers will look to come away from their match with a victory.
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake has had a decent 2012 MLS season that currently has them placed third in the Western Conference, tied with the Los Angeles Galaxy with 46 points on the season.
Salt Lake will be looking to use the atmosphere of Rio Tinto Stadium to help them keep pace with the other teams surrounding them, trying not to fade out of the MLS playoff race after having a streak of rather lackluster play.
Though they have played well away from the MLS, Real has had a tough go of it in MLS play recently, play that may see them drop out of the playoffs should their lackluster efforts continue.
The Timbers will be heading into this game with a streak of good play against top opponents.
Though they may have come away with draws in their past two matches, they were against a tough Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes team, teams that occupy the top two spots in the MLS Western Conference.
With this momentum Portland will be looking to win their first road game this season and stay away from the title of being one of the only teams to accomplish this feat in MLS history.
Closing out the season strong should help build momentum for a 2013 campaign that could be rather special when you consider the amount of talent the Timbers are starting to build.
Matchup to Watch: Alvaro Saborio vs. Portland Defense
Last time around, Saborio walked away with three goals against the Timbers.
With that kind of confidence already established, expect Real Salt Lake to press the Timbers early at home as they try to create opportunities for a talented Saborio to convert into goals.
The Portland defense will have to eliminate this dangerous player from the game if they want to walk away with their first road win of the season.