Jefferson Savarino’s last gasp winner was enough for Real Salt Lake to claim a 2-1 win over Portland Timbers in their first MLS Play Off win for six years. No.3 met no.6 at the Rio Tinto Stadium with Real Salt Lake’s impressive season making them the favourites in our odds at +107. Portland’s MLS experience and undoubted talent had them priced at just slight outsiders at +240, which was more likely than a tie at +281.
Salt Lake have impressed the Western Conference all season and they certainly made a better start to proceedings than Timbers. Their energy, high pressing and quick passing kept the Portland defence deeper and deeper and they were eventually rewarded with the opening goal from the in-form Damir Kreilach on minute 28. Portland keeper Stuart Clark was especially impressive, stringing together some crucial, if unorthodox, saves.
Portland needed to respond quickly and certainly found a strong reply in the game’s equaliser through Dairon Asprilla’s bullet header in the 47th minute. Portland looked to kick on and certainly looked better value for the win in the second half, but it was RSL who dug deep enough to pull out the win. A sublime dummy from Albert Rusnak teed up Jefferson Savarino who buried his strike in the 87th minute.
Though they were made to work hard for their win against the Timbers, Salt Lake remain one of the league’s most attack-focused and energetic sides to watch. They seemed to run out of steam slightly against Portland, meaning there is plenty for them to improve on before their match up against Seattle Sounders on October 23rd. In terms of the MLS Cup, Salt Lake are priced at +1600 in our markets, the same as the likes of LA Galaxy.