Joao Plata scores twice, Real Salt Lake beats Timbers 4-1
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Joao Plata scored twice and Kyle Beckerman added a goal before receiving a red card in Real Salt Lake’s 4-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night.
The eventful match featured seven yellow cards and three red cards.
Albert Rusnak also scored for Salt Lake (7-12-2), and Jack Barmby connected for Portland (7-8-6)
The action kicked off in the 10th minute, when Beckerman received a pass 25 yards from the Portland goal. With no defenders attempting to close in on him, the midfielder unleashed a right-footed rocket over leaping goalkeeper Jake Gleeson for his third goal of the season.
“I initially got it and was thinking I’d whip something across for the back post, and then didn’t see really any runs. So I just thought I’d give it a hit and it went in,” said Beckerman.
“Actually, I was yelling at him the other day because I want him sitting in front of the defense,” joked Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke after the game. “All he does after practice is shoot. I said, ‘How am I going to get you to stay (in position) if he keeps going up and shooting?’ So, hey, he had a great, fantastic goal today.”
Salt Lake doubled the lead in the 50th minute, after Portland’s Dairon Asprilla was called for a foul after stepping on Jefferson Savarino’s foot while trying to tackle the ball away in the Portland penalty area. Plata drilled the penalty kick into the lower right corner as Gleeson dove to the left.
In the 53rd minute, Portland’s Victor Arboleda, who entered the game in first half stoppage time, was shown a red card for running into Plata with an apparently high elbow.
Two minutes later, Beckerman was called for a foul on Adi. Adi then rushed at Beckerman, knocking him to the ground with a chest-bump. After the ensuing fracas settled down, both players were shown red cards, leaving Salt Lake with 10 players and Portland with nine.
“I’m curious as to why Kyle got a red card,” Petke said. “I’ve already talked to people in my organization, people here who have seen it, and they don’t understand why he got a red card.”
Salt Lake continued the scoring in the 68th minute, with a bit of good fortune. Rusnak scooped a pass over the Portland defense for Plata, who rolled the ball across the box back to Rusnak. His shot hit off the crossbar and off the back of a diving Gleeson for Rusnak’s fifth of the season.
Plata capped Salt Lake’s scoring in the 80th minute, running onto a threaded pass by Danilo Acosta and sliding a shot under Gleeson for his fifth of the season.
“Three of those goals, besides the penalty kick, were plays that we worked on over the last 10 days. The runs, the off-ball movement, and it’s fantastic to see it,” Petke said.
Portland got a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time, when Barmby hit a long, bouncing shot past goalkeeper Nick Rimando for Barmby’s first of the season.
“We brought most of what went wrong today on ourselves,” Portland coach Caleb Porter said. “So, we have to take one on the chin. We got bloodied today. No doubt about it. It’s very humbling.”
Real Salt Lake has won two in a row and three of their last five. On the other hand, Portland is winless in their last 6 games (0-3-3).