Real Salt Lake returned to Rio Tinto Stadium for its first league home game since April 30.
RSL entered the game with a flood of energy that looked like it might blow Portland out of Rio Tinto. When the Claret and Cobalt opened the scoring in the 17th minute off a perfect Javier Morales corner kick and a well-timed Burrito Martinez header, they looked to be on their way to a blowout.
But Caleb Porter's defending MLS champs weren't about to give up so easily. They worked their way methodically back into the game, stealing the momentum away from Real with a 29th-minute Fanendo Adi solo goal.
The visitors went up another goal in the waning minutes of the first half when Lucas Melano was in the right place at the right time to ping back a rebound goal.
Real Salt Lake returned to the pitch in the second half a bit flat, and getting flatter by the minute until a spate of solid attacks breathed new life into the whole team, led by the energizing Yura Movsisyan, whose hard work and positive attitude paid off in the 70th minute when he earned a PK, which he promptly put away to bring RSL level.
The final 20 minutes went by in a blur as both teams had great looks at the goal but neither was able to add a game-winner in what turned out to be a frustrating opportunity lost in RSL's hopes of starting off its seven-of-nine game homestand and hopes of earning the Supporters' Shield.
Here are the player grades.
Nick Rimando (GK), 7, faced an eager Portland side Saturday night. The Timbers were hungry to earn a much-needed road win and aggressively attacked throughout the night. Rimando did well to turn the Timbers away much of the night but was unable to stop Fanendo Adi rushing into the box alone in the 29th minute and Lucas Melano earned a goal in the 43rd minute by being in the right place at the right time to ping a scorcher past Rimando at the near post.
Chris Wingert (DEF), 6, had a rough night Saturday, but not for lack of trying. Wingert started off on the wrong foot with a few questionable calls going against him, and he wrestled the rest of the night to get back on track. Passes were slightly off, crosses in the offensive third just lacked his usual quality, and his positioning on Portland's 43rd-minute goal left him in no man's land, unable to defend Melano's near point-blank shot.
Justen Glad (DEF), 7, had his hands full with Portland's bruising Fanendo Adi harassing him all night. The young center back did well to hang with Portland's excellent DP, even in the 29th minute when Adi scored Portland's equalizer. Glad was well positioned to draw Adi offside, but the line judge saw it differently, allowing Adi to take on Rimando one-on-one for the goal.
Aaron Maund (DEF), 7, was a solid presence on defense Saturday, using his speed and athleticism to take the edge off Portland's dangerous break, especially in the second half as Real's energy started to flag.
Tony Beltran (DEF), 6, came off more than 2½ weeks of downtime to play Saturday, and it showed. His energy was low, and while he didn't do anything egregious, he was just slightly off on his passes, positioning, and was especially taxed defensively, especially in one-on-one defending, his typical calling card. Instead, his slow step earned him a yellow card in the 57th minute after having to tug on Adi's jersey to slow him down on the break.
Sunny Obayan (MID), 7, came into Saturday's game after sitting out the last couple of weeks rehabbing an ankle injury. He was solid in his defensive mid role as he filled in for Kyle Beckerman, who is playing with the U.S. Men's National Team in the Copa America. Obayan had his hands full, partly because of Portland's overloaded midfield, but also because RSL's 4-3-3 formation leaves the defense vulnerable when opposing teams are on the break. Such was the case when Portland broke through the RSL defense to earn both of its goals on the night.
Luke Mulholland (MID), 8, was solid box to box Saturday night. His defending was critical, especially through the heart of the second half as RSL's energy flagged slightly. And his attacking energy in the final third was a big part of Real's resurgence and eventual game-tying goal.
Javier Morales (MID), 8, showed no worse for the wear Saturday night after going 120 minutes plus PKs only five days earlier. His 17th-minute corner kick was a thing of beauty, placing it directly off the far post in a perfect spot for Burrito Martinez to pound it past Portland ’keeper Jake Gleeson to open the scoring.
Juan Manuel Martinez (FWD), 9, showed Saturday night that his feet are not his only weapons as he rose up high over Portland defender Zarek Valentin on a 17th-minute Javier Morales corner kick to head home the definitive game opener. Martinez did well to get back into the midfield defensively to even up the overloaded midfield the rest of the night, and was very good teaming up with Javier Morales to link up through the midfield in transition.
Yura Movsisyan (FWD), 9, was murder on the Portland defensive line all night. He worked tirelessly to unbalance the Portland back line until finally, in the 69th minute, he made a terrific run along the sideline and diagonally back through the box to catch Portland defender Jermaine Taylor on his heels. Taylor poked at Movsisyan as he came through and took down the big striker in the box. Movsisyan converted his effort into the tying goal a minute later from the penalty spot. He nearly put RSL in the lead in the 74th minute if not for a tremendous stop by Portland goalie Jake Gleeson.
Joao Plata (FWD), 9, started the game in earnest. Within the first three minutes he'd taken two shots and earned a corner kick, which he also took. Plata continued to be the dynamo behind the RLS attack much of the night, playing well off Mulholland and Movsisyan all night.
Jordan Allen (SUB, 65', MID), 7, was brought on in place of Obayan partially to give the recuperating Nigerian some rest, but also to add some offensive firepower to the attack. His long-range passing was a little off, but he was very good in the tight spaces of the final third, nearly earning an assist and a goal in his first 10 minutes.
Olmes Garcia (SUB, 90', FWD), No grade, came on for Yura Movsisyan in the waning minutes of the game and did not play long enough to earn a grade.
Chris Higbee is a regular contributor to DeseretNews.com, writing about soccer and the arts.