Fans left Providence Park wet and upset as the Portland Timbers failed to secure three points in a 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake.
Real Salt Lake came out firing, testing Timbers keeper Donovan Ricketts on a rain-soaked pitch in Portland. After the initial fury of shots, both teams settled down for a relatively quiet first half of play.
In desperate need of three points, Portland tirelessly attacked in the second half. The RSL defense could not handle the speed and creativity of Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri as the pair continuously linked up on the counter-attack to produce chances for Portland.
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Unfortunately for the Timbers, Nick Rimando was lights out in net for RSL.
Despite a few early mistakes due to the wet pitch, Rimando settled in and recorded his 114th clean sheet, adding to his already record total.
No save was bigger than Rimando’s effort to deny Darlington Nagbe from what seemed to be a sure goal for Portland in the 61st minute. Nagbe and Valeri once again combined to lead the attack, with Valeri’s cross deflecting right to the feet of Nagbe, who was absolutely robbed by Rimando from point-blank range.
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Even when Portland was able to get the ball past Rimando, they still were unable to score. Norberto Paparatto’s header seemed destined to put the Timbers ahead in the 67th minute, only to be cleared off the line by Luis Gil.
While a draw does not eliminate Portland from playoff contention, they now sit even with Vancouver, who have a game in hand. The Whitecaps take on a lowly San Jose side that is eliminated from the playoff race and recently saw their manager sacked.
The Timbers can only hope Vancouver somehow drops points to the last-place Earthquakes, giving Portland a shot heading into the final weekend.
Portland: Ricketts, Powell, Paparatto, Ridgewell, Villafana, Zemanski, Chara, Nagbe (Fernandez 82′), Valeri, Wallace, Adi (Urruti 79′)
Real Salt Lake: Rimando, Beltran, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert, Beckerman, Gil (Grossman 90′), Grabavoy, Morales, Jaime (Plato 65′), Findley (Saborio 66′)