Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers report card

Published: Friday, Aug. 30 2013 11:22 p.m. MDT

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Tactics: Alvaro Saborio is back in the starting lineup after missing two games. Joao Plata was his starting strike partner. Considering the matchups — Saborio and former RSL defender Rauwshan McKenzie and Plata versus bull-in-a-china-shop Andrew Jean-Baptiste — Jason Kreis was clearly hoping to exploit the untested pairing of Portland defenders with usual starter Pa Modou Kah out on red card accumulation.

Alvaro Saborio did exactly what was needed to open up the scoring for the likes of Joao Plata and Luis Gil. He drew attention. With Saborio double-teamed anywhere near the box, Plata was able to take Portland's Andrew Jean-Baptiste one-on-one several times during the night, including the isolation in the 15th minute that gave Plata his third goal on the season. But it became Saborio's turn to add to the score sheet in the 67th minute when he headed in a Javier Morales free kick, Saborio's 10th goal of the season.

Joao Plata owes Ned Grabavoy for the assist in the ninth minute that put RSL on the board early. Grabavoy's dummy on the ball froze Portland's defense just enough to allow Plata's pass to find Gil just outside the six-yard box where Gil did the rest. But he earned his 15th minute goal all by himself. Plata made a nifty step-over move to get around the more physically imposing (but less agile) Andrew Jean-Baptiste to pound the goal into the back of the net. Plata continued to pester the Portland front line all night, earning Andrew Jean-Baptiste a yellow card in the 44th minute for pushing Plata out of frustration. Unfortunately, Plata's cheekiness earned him a yellow card in the same minute.

Robbie Findley (Sub '61) Findley subbed on for Joao Plata and seemed to pick up from where Plata had left off with dangerous runs and terrific positioning that helped clear space for RSL's second-half barrage. That said, Findley seems uninterested in taking the shot lately when he has the chance. He had two clear opportunities to test Rickettes Friday night after doing some hard work that deserved a payoff. But they turned into lost opportunities due to his penchant to pass rather than shoot. Like any striker, Findley needs goals to build the confidence to get more. If he intends to play a leading role in RSL's run into the playoffs, it's time to get the scoring started.

Grade: A
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Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Does the author truly understand the sport of soccer? On the Nagbe goal Wingert did exactly what he should - there was a runner sprinting up Portland's right side (Wingert's left) and he has to split the difference between the man with the ball (Nagbe) and covering the run. He did exactly that. In fact, that was a pretty poor shot he forced Nagbe into taking.

The fault on that goal goes to Rimando, who may have been screened by Borchers but still got a hand on the ball. A goalkeeper who gets a hand on the shot - especially one that doesn't have a ton of pace on it - has to keep it out of the goal. Rimando didn't do that.

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