PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Fanendo Adi scored the only goal and the Portland Timbers celebrated their 100th consecutive regular-season sellout with a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.
“I thought it was a gutsy win. We’ve had some games at home recently that had a larger margin of victory. This game, it took a clean sheet. I think that’s important,” Portland head coach Caleb Porter said.
“Obviously we should have scored a second and third goal. Sometimes you don’t, and if you don’t score it, you gotta buckle down and grind and put up a clean sheet, and we did.”
In the 12th minute, Darlington Nagbe took a shot from just outside the RSL penalty area that was blocked by a defender. The ball bounced right to Adi in the penalty area, where the forward touched the ball wide, paused, and then unleashed a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Nick Rimando for his 14th goal.
“I saw when the cross was coming, I said, ‘He could miss it’, and he missed it. So, I was right in front of (the) goal. I thought I could take a shot with my left foot, but I wasn’t very sure of it, so I just had to bring it back to my right and it was a comfortable one,” said Adi. “I took my time just to see where the goalie was standing and just had to kick it in. I think it was an easy one.”
Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar had a different take on the play.
“I think that first goal was a little unlucky, to be fair,” he said. “They shoot, it deflects off our player, and Adi’s in a great position to put it away.”
Portland goalkeeper Jake Gleeson made five saves for his fifth shutout of the season. RSL’s best chance came in the 65th minute, when Javier Morales barely missed a 20-yard free kick just over the crossbar. Rimando had two saves.
Portland (10-11-18) remained in the final playoff position in the Western Conference. The loss, combined with Colorado’s win in Dallas earlier Saturday, dropped RSL (12-9-8) into third place in the West.
“It had a playoff feel to it,” said Cassar. “It had the physicality of the playoffs.”
The capacity crowd of 21,144 continued the streak that started when Portland joined MLS in 2011. Including MLS playoff games, the Timbers have sold out 105 consecutive matches.