SANDY, Utah – Robbie Findley scored the go-ahead goal in the first half and had an assist in the second half, leading Real Salt Lake to a 4-2 victory over the Portland Timbers in the first leg of the Major League Soccer Western Conference finals on Sunday night.
Chris Schuler, Devon Sandoval and Javier Morales also scored for Salt Lake, which will take a two-goal advantage into the second and final leg of the total-goals series on Nov. 24 in Portland.
Salt Lake scored three goals in a 13-minute stretch, starting with Schuler’s tally in the 35th that tied it 1-1.
Will Johnson put the Timbers on the scoreboard in the 14th minute and Frederic Piquionne closed the scoring in stoppage time.
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Salt Lake extended its unbeaten streak over Portland to nine matches. The Timbers have not beaten RSL since the first meeting in the series April 30, 2011.
The Timbers’ loss snapped a 10-match unbeaten streak, stretching back to a 4-2 loss to Salt Lake on Aug. 30.
On Johnson’s opening goal, the Timbers’ midfielder sent a free kick over the defensive wall and threaded the ball inside the far post, denying Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando any chance to get to it in time.
Schuler tied the score 21 minutes later, heading in Morales’ corner kick.
A defensive mistake helped Salt Lake take the lead in the 41st. Mamadou Danso made an errant back pass under pressure from Findley and the ball squirted loose. Findley sprinted past Danso to collect the ball and easily flicked it around keeper Donovan Ricketts.
In the second half, Findley latched onto a through ball and sent a cross into Sandoval, who quickly put it home for his first career playoff goal in the 48th.
Morales made the score 4-1 in the 82nd minute.
U.S. women beat Brazil
ORLANDO, Fla. – Sydney Leroux scored twice in the first half and the U.S. women’s team completed its sixth undefeated year with a 4-1 exhibition victory over Brazil before a crowd of 20,274 at the Citrus Bowl.
Abby Wambach also scored in the first half and Erika Tymrak added a goal.
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, a former Washington Huskies standout from Richland, made a series of diving saves in the second half.
“Huge!” Wambach said. “Obviously you get that first goal, and you have momentum.”
The United States improved to 13-0-3 this year and the team’s unbeaten streak reached 38 matches — and 76 at home.
Brazil, which didn’t get a shot until the 21st minute, got its lone goal in the 24th when Rosana took Rilany’s cross and scored.