Real Salt Lake pulls to 3-3 draw against Timbers
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(AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)
By ANNE M. PETERSON
AP Sports Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Real Salt Lake's Cole Grossman kept his focus when the Portland Timbers lost theirs.
Grossman scored in stoppage time and Salt Lake played to a 3-3 draw against the Timbers to remain in first place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference.
"Turf field, fast field, (everything) happens really fast," he said. "I'm just trying to keep it on goal and luckily it went in."
Grossman's goal in the 93rd minute, with RSL down a man, came after Kalif Alhassan scored in the 86th minute to give Portland the lead. With the tie, the Timbers pulled even with the Colorado Rapids for second place in the conference standings.
"When the dust settles, there's still some positives in where we're at," Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. "We can't let this get us too down that it affects the next game."
While the two teams hadn't met in an MLS match this season, they played in a U.S. Open Cup match on Aug. 7 in Utah. Real Salt Lake won that contest 2-1 to advance to the final against D.C. United on Oct. 1.
The Timbers were coming off a 2-1 win at home over FC Dallas on Saturday, while RSL lost 4-2 at the Los Angeles Galaxy to set up Wednesday's key conference matchup.
Real Salt Lake was without goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who has started 20 games this season for the team, because of the flu, and forward Alvaro Saborio, who sat with a calf strain. Midfielder Kyle Beckerman did not play because of yellow-card accumulation.
For the second straight match the Timbers missed Will Johnson, who has six goals and three assists this season, because of a right shoulder injury. Forward Frederic Piquionne also sat out his second game because of an ankle injury. A sore ankle sidelined midfielder Jack Jewsbury.
Jeff Attinella, who had made three appearances for RSL this season, started in goal and was peppered by the Timbers from the start, including a cross from Diego Valeri that was out of reach but hit the post. Attinella then saved the rebound shot.
The Timbers went ahead in the 24th minute on Rodney Wallace's header off a free kick from Valeri, giving him assists on Portland's last seven goals. It was Wallace's fifth goal of the season.
Veteran defender Nat Borchers tied it at 1 with an unassisted goal for Salt Lake in the 38th minute. With Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts on the ground in a tangle of players in front of the net, Borchers tapped it in for his first goal of the season.
Javier Morales' penalty kick in the 43rd minute gave Real Salt Lake a 2-1 lead. Portland's fans loudly booed the call, then taunted the officials with angry chants. When time ran out after the first half, Timbers defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste appeared to confront the referees, and coach Caleb Porter also appeared to shout in their direction before leading Jean-Baptiste off the field.
Portland evened the score at 2 on a penalty kick by Valeri in the 57th minute after Morales was yellow-carded. Alhassan's go-ahead was a cross that tipped off Attinella's fingers.
Playing a man down after Yordany Alvarez was sent off with a red card in the 79th, Grossman scored his first career goal for Real Salt Lake when Portland appeared to let down its guard in stoppage time.
"You saw at the end of the game. We're up 3-2 and then we let our foot off the pedal," Portland defender Michael Harrington said. "We were even down a man."
Grossman, who was subbed in late in the match, was making his first appearance in a match since being sidelined by a concussion on March 23.
"I think when you enter this time of the season, you're always thinking that you want to go places for wins, but if you walk out places with a draw at this time of the season, that has to be success," RSL coach Jason Kreis said.
Updated August 22, 2013