A massive showdown for the 2013 MLS Western Conference Championship takes place on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah between Jason Kreis’s Real Salt Lake and Caleb Porter’s Portland Timbers. RSL come off a massive 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the conference semifinals, while Portland held off the Seattle Sounders on aggregate 5-3.
Kickoff for the first leg of the Western Conference Final is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN, WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for Sunday’s tilt between Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers.
1. Diego Valeri on goal for Portland
This season, Diego Valeri has been the ace for the Timbers, with 10 goals and 13 assists. Valeri will get the job done once more with a goal and an assist on Sunday night.
2. Will Johnson with another big night
Another key contributor to the cause has been Will Johnson, who has nine goals and five assists to his name. Johnson will earn a goal and an assist on Sunday.
3. Here comes Darlington Nagbe…
Another top goalscorer in Portland’s balanced attack is Darlington Nagbe. Like Will Johnson and Ryan Johnson, Nagbe has nine goas this regular season and is boldly predicted to deliver for the visitors on Sunday night.
4. Ryan Johnson is confounded by RSL
The one top gun that won’t stand a chance at pulling through for Portland is Ryan Johnson. He may have nine goals to his credit, but he won’t get one past RSL’s backline, led by Tony Beltran, Chris Wingert and Chris Schuler.
5. Javier Morales on goal for Real Salt Lake
Javier Morales was robbed of his late-night heroics on Thursday against the Los Angeles Galaxy, but this time, he will not be denied a goal against the best team in the West. Morales will score in the second half for RSL.
6. Nick Rimando with at least five saves
This season, Nick Rimando had had 82 saves made, and on Sunday night, it will be more of the same as he makes at least five saves against the green and gold firing squad from the Rose City.
7. Donovan Ricketts with at least five saves
On the other side, Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts knows what it takes to be great, with at least 92 saves made this season. A proven champion, look for the Big Cat from Montego Bay to get the job done with at least five saves.
8. No goals or assists for Rodney Wallace
One of the players for Portland that Real Salt Lake need to account for is Rodney Wallace. In 2013, Wallace, had seven goals and six assists to his credit and is a provider that can deliver. Look for RSL to shut Wallace down and force the Timbers to look at their other options.
9. At least 30 fouls and four cards
In the wild, wild West, tough matches call for hard, physical, fast and fluid action. In this match, the View calls for at least 30 fouls whistled and four cards of any color issued.
10. Portland take the first leg
The Portland Timbers are the best team in the MLS Western Conference for a reason, and they will prove it with a solid first leg victory over Real Salt Lake.
Portland Timbers 3, Real Salt Lake 1