After pulling off two memorable upsets to get within two games of winning another MLS Championship, Real Salt Lake’s magical run came to an unfortunate run with a 2-0 loss on the road against Portland in the Western Conference finals.
RSL fell behind early, when a poor clearance in the fifth minute by Aaron Herrera fell right into the path of Portland’s Felipe Mora for a 1-0 lead.
As much as RSL tried, they failed to create chances and the defense faltered again in the second half.
Leaving a lot of open space in the middle of the pitch, the Timbers’ Santiago Moreno dribbled straight through it before unleashing a bullet from outside the 18-yard box to give the home side a 2-0 lead just after the hour mark.
Falling behind even further, Aaron Herrera picked up his second yellow card in the 79th minute. A second yellow meant he was sent off with a red card, putting RSL down a man for the remainder of the match.
That seemed to be the nail in the coffin for Real, who couldn’t get back into the game. The loss left them one win short of an appearance in the MLS Cup.