Salt Lake 3 – 0 Portland
Though Portland was seeking to continue the momentum they had built up after a 2-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes, Alvaro Saborio made sure all eyes were on him. Heading into halftime even at zero, Saborio scored three goals in the second half of the game to give him a hat trick, ultimately sending Portland home in shame.
Here are this weeks love ‘em & hate ‘em from Real Salt Lake’s drubbing of the Portland Timbers.
The First Half
If there is anything good to take away from this game for the Timbers, it is the fact that they came out of the first half at an even draw with zeroes across the board.
Though RSL did have opportunities during this half to score, the Timbers did very well ensuring they did not score as well as capitalizing off the counter-attack. The Timbers’ best opportunity came in the 33rd minute when Eric Alexander just missed an opportunity to give Portland a first half lead as well as the opportunity to forward their momentum.
Unfortunately for the Timbers, the first half of the game was just about the only positive thing to take away from this game, and they were lucky to have that as a positive as RSL may have still outplayed Portland in the half.
3 Goals by One Player in 13 Minutes
Surrendering three goals in MLS play is always tough on a team. When one player gets a hat trick, that is even more deflating.
When the player who gets the hat trick gets it in less than 13 minutes, things just get embarrassing.
Unfortunately for the Timbers, that is what exactly happened to them as Alvaro Saborio recorded goals in the 60th, 62nd, and 73rd minute.
Allowing any player to accumulate those kinds of statistics is embarrassing and the Timbers should hold themselves to a higher level. Incompetent and unbalanced play led to Portland errors that allowed Saborio to easily score three times.
Diego Chara Gets Testy
One of the reasons Saborio was able to knock across his third goal was because of Diego Chara. Already receiving a yellow card for a foolish tackle in the 63rd minute, Chara received a red after he was called for a handball on a corner kick for Real Salt Lake in the 73rd.
While the handball was more of a last ditch effort to save a goal, Chara should hold himself to higher standards when going after the ball in the 63rd minute. Not only did he make an unsafe and hard tackle, he was the insinuator of all the pushing and shoving that occurred after his foul.
Already struggling to find out their identity, Chara will not be able to play against the LA Galaxy as he sits out a game due to his red card.
He is a better player than he showed last night and he should feel embarrassed by his play.
Timbers Can’t Contend
After several games of confusing their fans as to what kind of club they are, the Timbers finally revealed themselves to be an inconsistent team at best.
While I did give them somewhat of a chance in my mind to make the playoffs after their performance against the Earthquakes, I don’t believe the Timbers have any shot of contending for post season play.
In fact, I don’t know how many more games they will be able to win this year. With some of their toughest tests ahead of them, the Timbers may struggle through the second half of the season as the loss to Real Salt Lake really deflated them.
Though they may be just a few points out of contention in the Western conference, the way they have played against the Rapids and Real Salt Lake really showed that they are not a premiere team in the MLS yet.
While there will still be some exciting moments for the Timbers this 2012 season, it is just about safe to say that we know who they are after a more than lackluster performance against Real Salt Lake.