Timbers remain atop West

Portland settles for 0-0 tie with Real Salt Lake in key match
Oct. 19, 2013
File photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Two of the top offensive teams in MLS shared the spoils Saturday night, but there was not a goal to be found as the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake played to a scoreless draw at JELD-WEN Field.

There was, however, plenty of reason for both teams to be happy, with the Portland Timbers having clinched a playoff spot earlier in the day thanks to Seattle's loss in Dallas and RSL clinching a sixth straight postseason berth thanks to the point on the road.

The result also kept Portland atop the table in the West with 54 points from 33 games and moved them a point behind Sporting KC in the Supporters' Shield race, though New York could leapfrog both teams with a win in Houston on Sunday.

The draw was the first scoreless encounter in four meetings between these teams across all competitions in 2013, with the first three games having yielded a total of 15 goals.

And while there was plenty of back-and-forth soccer and scintillating action in a game that featured some of the league’s top players, the chances around goal were few and far between.

The best look of the first half came when José Adolfo Valencia, making just his third start of the season, burst down the right flank and beat Chris Schuler at the endline with some fancy footwork, only to just miss Kalif Alhassan with his rolling pass across the face of goal.

It would take until the second half for either side to register a shot on target and Portland’s three shots on goal – all requiring exceptional work by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando – were in fact night’s only attempts on frame.

The first came in the 65th minute when Timbers defender Jack Jewsbury sent in a cross from the right flank to Rodney Wallace. He nudged it on to a wide open Alhassan, but Rimando gobbled it up with a diving save.