Morales, Espindola get Real Salt Lake past Timbers

Associated Press Modified: September 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm •  Published: September 22, 2012

SANDY, Utah (AP) — Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola stepped up in Alvaro Saborio's absence.

Morales and Espindola both scored in the first half to lead Salt Lake to a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday night.

"We got big time plays from a couple of big time players there on the attacking end," RSL coach Jason Kreis said.

Saborio, second in the MLS with 14 goals, missed the game due a shoulder injury suffered against Tauro FC earlier in the week. He is expected to be sidelined at least two to four weeks.

Real Salt Lake (15-11-4) became the second club in MLS history to get at least 15 wins in three straight seasons and secured a spot in the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

Bright Dike scored in the 61st minute for the Timbers (7-15-8), who remained winless on the road. Portland only has two more chances — with games remaining against Seattle and Vancouver — to end the futility.

"The reality of it is we don't want to be one of those teams that goes down in the record book without a win on the road during the course of a year," Portland midfielder Jack Jewsbury said.

Espindola put Salt Lake on the board in the 14th minute, taking a free kick just outside the penalty area and slicing a left footer past the Timbers' defensive wall.

Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando prevented Portland from tying it up in the 21st as Jewsbury used a corner kick to send a perfect cross to Rodney Wallace in the center of the box. Wallace sent a header forward and Rimando denied him in the center of the goal.

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