[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The Portland Timbers remain winless in seven games after another loss to old nemesis Real Salt Lake Saturday night.
MLS:Week 7 Report
MLS:The USA 20
It took a world-class performance by Nick Rimando, back in the RSL goal after missing two games with a knee injury, but the fact is the Timbers are now 0-3-4 following the 1-0 defeat before a sellout crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Timbers coach Caleb Porter said the game was one of the Timbers' best of the season but they came away with no points.
“We had better possession against the best possession team in the league. We had the better chances on the day. I thought we smelled blood in the water a little bit [in the] 65th-70th minute. We had three or four chances that should have been goals, and if we score one of those goals we probably walk out of here with a win."
Porter said Rimando was the difference for the resulted that extended RSL's mastery over the Timbers. They swept both playoff games and went unbeaten in six meetings in all competitions in 2013.
"At the end of the day, they win the game because of Nick Rimando," he said. "He stands on his head. And they should give him a big bonus or make him a DP because they win that game because of him. He pulls the ball out of the upper corner [on] Gaston Fernandez [at @6:27 on highlights], saves a point-blank save. On Alvas Powell [@5:50]. Those are goals. And we had more. [Darlington Nagbe] had one first half he made a save on [@1:10]. And then we missed some breakaways, too, where we didn’t get it on frame. We have to do better with those. The silver lining, even though we didn’t get the result, is we were the better team today."
Porter said the silver lining is that the Timbers are not too far away from the playoff zone -- five points behind fifth-place Vancouver but only four behind the sixth-place LA Galaxy, which has two games in hand.
"We’re a only couple wins away from being over the red line," he said. "Lot of draws today [five of nine MLS games]. The race is still very tight. Things will turn and it’s just going to take us getting that monkey off our back and getting that first win. But I’m very pleased with how the players executed the plan. I’m very pleased overall with how we defended. They didn’t get very many chances. And I’m pleased that we had the better of the chances as well."
Timbers captain Will Johnson wasn't about to talk about the positives after another loss to his old team, though, on a goal scored by Ned Grabavoy after he put a move on Nagbe and no one stepped up to challenge at the top of the penalty area for a shot that beat goalie Donovan Ricketts to the far post.
“It’s all about results and we’ve got to step up and make plays," he said. "There are plays out there that are there to be made. This is professional soccer, and when we get in those big moments we look like amateurs. We have to face the reality that we have to be better.”