Portland Timbers 3-3 Real Salt Lake: Ten-man RSL escapes Portland with late equalizer

Keith Hickey
Real Salt Lake 4-2 Portland Timbers: RSL takes major step towards MLS Cup

The Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake played to a thrilling 3-3 draw at JELD-WEN field.

Real Salt Lake was without starting goalkeeper Nick Rimando (along with Alvaro Saborio and Kyle Beckerman) for the match. The USA international was ruled out with an illness, leaving Jeff Attinella to deputize.

Portland scored first, in the 24th minute. Diego Valeri's curling free kick was headed in by Rodney Wallace, who may have been guilty of pushing off on Khari Stephenson.

Nat Borchers leveled the scoreline on 38 minutes. Javier Morales chased down a poorly cleared free kick and stole the ball from Valeri. His cross found Yordany Alvarez, and although Alvarez's header was saved by Donovan Ricketts, Borchers was sitting in perfect position to tap the ball home.

Morales was dragged down in the box by Andrew Jean-Baptiste a few minutes later, drawing a penalty. The RSL playmeker stepped up and converted his effort to put the visiting side up 2-1 just before halftime.

Portland had its turn from the spot in the 57th minute, when Brandon McDonald swiped a bouncing ball with his elbow. Diego Valeri finished from the spot to level the score at 2-2.

RSL lost Alvarez to a red card in the 79th minute when he was sent off for a high, reckless challenge on Diego Chara.

The Timbers made the advantage count when sub Kalif Alhassan scored in the 86th minute. Nat Borchers touched away a cross into but got tangled up with Jose Valencia on the ground, allowing Alhassan to shoot in the corner with only a slight touch from Attinella.

The dramatics extended into stoppage time, when Cole Grossman collected a rebound inside the box and slotted home to make it 3-3 in the 94th and keep Real Salt Lake in first place in the Western Conference and Major League Soccer.