PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)Felipe Mora scored in the 62nd minute off an assist from Sebastian Blanco and the Portland Timbers went on to beat Real Salt Lake 3-2 on Saturday night.
Dairon Asprilla and Yimmy Chara also scored to help the Timbers (7-8-2) snap a three-game winless streak with a rivalry match against the Seattle Sounders looming next weekend.
”It’s been difficult with no good results,” Asprilla said through a translator, ”but this (the win) gives us confidence for the classic against Seattle.”
All-Star Damir Kreilach scored a late goal for Real Salt Lake (5-6-6), playing the final match of a three-game trip.
Asprilla scored early off a penalty kick awarded after Real Salt Lake had a handball in the box in the 10th minute. The call was confirmed after video review.
Chara made it 2-0 in the 29th minute off an assist from Asprilla, but Real Salt Lake answered with a goal from Albert Rusnak in the 40th.
Portland was short-handed without midfielder Diego Chara, goalkeeper Steve Clark and midfielder Eryk Williamson. Chara had a red card Wednesday night in a 1-1 draw with San Jose, Clark injured his groin in the same match, and Williamson was out because of health and safety protocols.
RSL was coming off a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on Wednesday.
Blanco subbed into the game at the half for Marvin Loria, who was making his 50th appearance for the Timbers.
After Mora gave the Timbers a 3-1 lead, Kreilach scored for RSL in the 80th to close the gap.
”They kind of dropped off and we got on top of them and we kept creating chances,” Rusnak said. ”We created very good chances. We were dangerous. We got shots. Everything except the result again.”
RSL won the last meeting between the teams, 2-1 last October in Utah.
Saturday’s match marked the halfway point in the MLS season for many teams. With the win, the Timbers move up to sixth in the Western Conference, while RSL falls to eighth.
Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said that while there were many things the Timbers needed to improve in the first half of the season, ”we were able to accumulate at least, with all the ups and downs, points in order to be in a position that we can still battle.”
The Timbers will host the rival Seattle Sounders next Sunday night, and RSL will return home to take on Austin FC on Saturday.
”We’re under pressure now. We have to win these two home games that we have coming up. Nothing other than three points from each game will be good enough,” Rusnak said. ”We have to catch up to these teams that are ahead of us on the table. That’s all we can do.”