Jason Kreis’s Real Salt Lake are playing with house money after a 4-2 victory over Caleb Porter’s Portland Timbers in the first leg of the 2013 MLS Western Conference Final at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. A draw or even a one-goal loss will be enough to see RSL through to the MLS Cup Final.
As for Portland, they need a solid performance but may be under the microscope on Sunday, Nov. 24 at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Ore. Can they rally? Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for Sunday’s second leg between the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake.
1. Under four goals will be scored
It won’t be a wide-open goal festival this time around. Both teams are due to play some solid defense and will make a number of key plays in the back line. The View calls for under four goals scored in this second leg.
2. Diego Valeri on goal for Portland
This season, Diego Valeri has had 10 goals and 13 assists to lead the Timbers. In what is predicted to be a losing effort, Valeri will score the only goal for Portland in this second leg. A few players for the Timbers will be shut down by RSL, namely…
3. Will Johnson: no goals or assists
This past regular season, Will Johnson has had nine goals and five assists. However, with Real Salt Lake coming into JELD-WEN on a high, this Johnson won’t get it done. As for the other Johnson…
4. No goals or assists for Ryan Johnson
Same thing. Despite nine goals for Ryan Johnson, he will also be put on notice by Real Salt Lake, as with the first leg. There will be no goals or assists.
5. At least five saves for Donovan Ricketts
Right now, the Big Cat from Montego Bay has to play like his life depends on it. Ricketts will make at least five saves but even that may not be enough to save Portland.
6. At least five saves from Nick Rimando
This past season, Rimando has made 82 saves and will need to make some more. At least five saves will be made from Rimando on Sunday.
7. Chris Schuler strikes again
Here comes Real Salt Lake’s Mr. November. Chris Schuler has been on a hotstreak with his scoring and he will be on goal one against for RSL.
8. A goal and an assist for Javier Morales
Real Salt Lake’s swingman is Javier Morales, with eight goals and 10 assists to his credit. Morales will earn a goal and an assist on Sunday night against Portland.
9. No goals or assists for Robbie Findley
One player that Portland will have success stopping is Robbie Findley, who scored six goals in the regular season for Real Salt Lake. The Timbers will shut down Findley and keep him off the scoresheet.
10. Real Salt Lake will face Sporting Kansas City in MLS Cup
Real Salt Lake don’t have to go all-out for this match, but they need to do just enough to earn the result and they will. Combined with the Bold Predictions for the second leg of the Eastern Conference Final, it will be Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City in the 2013 MLS Cup Final.
Real Salt Lake 2, Portland Timbers 1
Real Salt Lake win series 6-3