Tom Smart, Deseret News

Saturday night was a scorcher, but not on the field - at least not until the second half. The temperature was 92 degrees at kickoff and the fans in the stands looked uncomfortable. Real Salt Lake did little to change that in the first half by squandering numerous scoring opportunities and a chance to bury a team at home for the first time in five matches. The fact that their foe was a clearly inferior Portland Timbers team, who struggled all game to keep the ball out of their third of the field, made it feel like RSL was set to turn in another disappointing effort. But the second half was a different game. Thing started to click up front, thanks in large part to a superb effort put forth by Javier Morales to pick apart the Portland defense. But it exploded when a clearly frustrated and off-kilter Alvaro Saborio shook off his past woes like so much dead skin to blast three goals past Portland keeper Troy Perkins to earn his first hat-trick and the 3rd ever for RSL.

Game Stats
Tom Smart, Deseret News

Match Info
Referee: Mark Geiger
Attendance: 16,444

Goals
RSL - 3 (Saborio, 60', 62', 75')

Cards
RSL 65' Will Johnson Yellow
POR 66' Diego Chara Yellow
POR 66' David Horst Yellow
RSL 66' Kyle Beckerman Yellow
POR 67' Lovel Palmer Yellow
POR 68' Steven Smith Yellow
POR 74' Diego Chara Red
POR 80' Mamadou Danso Yellow

Salt Lake San Jose
18 Attempts on Goal 5
9 Shots on Target 0
4 Shots off Target 4
5 Blocked Shots 1
5 Corner Kicks 4
10 Fouls 17
19 Open Play Crosses 7
1 Offsides 1
2 Yellow Cards 5
0 Red Cards 1
52 Duels Won 46
53% Duels Won % 46%
499 Total Passes 289
85% Passing Accuracy % 73%
63.4% Possession 36.6%

Nick Rimando (GK)

Nick was never really tested Saturday night. Real's defense, particularly in the midfield was very good and Portland's strategy to absorb and counter never bore fruit, aside from the fact that their midfield passing was poor. His distribution was very strong, particularly at distance. One running punt in the final minutes of the first half may have been his best when he dropped a ball right at the feet of a streaking Paulo Junior just beyond the midfield stripe.

MIN 90
SHT 0
SV 0
GA 0
A 0
FC 0
FS 0

Cards: None

Grade: A

Tony Beltran (RD)

Saturday night seemed like a homecoming for Tony Beltran - a homecoming to his old ways. His defensive effort was solid but with Portland playing an absorption game it gave Tony ample opportunity to push forward where he was a factor keeping the ball in Portland's half the majority of the game and used his foot skills and field vision to play a key role in Real's break-through flood of goals.

MIN 90
G 0
A 0
SHT 0
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 0
FS 1

Cards: None

Grade: A-

Jamison Olave (CD)

Saturday night was one of Olave's finest performances of the season, and after coming back from a calf injury that had him sidelined for the previous two games. Jamison found himself matched up with Portland's star striker, Danny Mwanga, all night long. Mwanga is known as a physical striker but he was no match for Olave. Jamison won most of the headers the two competed for, and Jamison's recovery speed made the one or two Mwanga breaks less than threatening. He shut down all other contenders. Jamison was subbed out in the 82nd minute to give his ailing leg a rest and to make way for Kwame Watson-Siriboe in need of playing time to prove his worth in the RLS midfield.

MIN 82
G 0
A 0
SHT 1
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 1
FS 3

Cards: None

Grade: A

Nat Borchers (CD)

Nat tag-teamed with Olave drawing Danny Mwanga duty and he was equal to the task despite Mwanga's better strength and speed. Partially because Nat is crystal clear about his own strengths (positioning and field vision) and partially because RSL's offensive play ended up being their best defense by keeping Portland out of RSL's third the majority of the game. But it was his leadership along the back line that payed the biggest dividends for RSL and helped them find their form that's been missing of late.

MIN 90
G 0
A 0
SHT 1
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 0
FS 0

Cards: None

Grade: A-

Chris Wingert (LD)

Chris took advantage of Portland's absorption strategy and like Beltran played a big role in both keeping RSL in attack position with solid midfield and forward defense and finding their scoring form Saturday night. It was his perfectly placed, 25-yard cross in the 62nd minute that allowed Alvaro Saborio to beat the offside trap and smash home his second header-goal of the night.

MIN 90
G 0
A 1
SHT 1
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 3
FS 1

Cards: None

Grade: A

Ned Grabavoy (RM)

Ned came up limping around the 10th minute off a hard Portland foul that looked to have re-aggravated a groin injury and was not able to recover Saturday night. He played 20 minutes of solid defensive soccer despite the injury but coach Jason Kreis thought it wise to pull Ned who was replaced by Luis Gil. Ned's only knock was apparent when Luis Gil replaced him in the 24th minute. His propensity to defend first, then attack, was not what Real needed, especially on a night when they had to see a change in their offensive play.

MIN 24
G 0
A 0
SHT 0
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 1
FS 1

Cards: None

Grade: B+

Kyle Beckerman (CDM)

Kyle was the quiet assassin Saturday night. Unusual for the fan favorite who is known for his feisty play. Kyle was at ease all night, even in the first half when much of the rest of the team was playing tense, and his confidence seemed to percolate through the rest of the team so that by the end of the game, it looked like we were watching the RSL who'd stormed to the top of the MLS only a couple of weeks ago. He took a couple of shots, one in the final minutes that came very close. But it was his passing that made him deadly. His assist to Alvaro Saborio in the 60th minute was so perfectly placed the only thing that might have kept Sabo from scoring was himself. Fortunately he broke out of that boring mold and skipped it past Portland's Troy Perkins with an equally perfect header.

MIN 90
G 0
A 1
SHT 2
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 0
FS 0

Card: None

Grade: A

Will Johnson (LM)

Will took the first real threatening shot of the game for either team in the 19th minute with a squirrely crack from 22 yards out that Portland keeper Troy Perkins parried out for a corner kick. His second shot in the 23rd minute was a solid right footer won with a juke on his defender that gave Portland notice that Will Johnson had come with goal scoring on his mind. He had another clever shot in the 91st minute that went straight to Perkins. It was fun to see Will attacking the goal and one can hope he continues to pound away until he breaks down the door, so to speak.

MIN 90
G 0
A 0
SHT 3
SOG 3
CK 0
OF 0
FC 1
FS 0

Card: Yellow, 65'

Grade: A

Alvaro Saborio (FWD)

Alvaro came on the pitch tight Saturday night with a few clanging touches with his back to the goal that he normally keeps at his feet and one anxious shot in the 9th minute that seemed more an effort to please his frustrated coach than an attempt to score. He started the second half more promising, making a nice run into the box that he turned around and squandered with an off-target pass that was meant to find a streaking Paulo Junior. But five games of frustration and angst were shed in the 60th minute when Alvaro connected on a beautiful in-swinger from Kyle Beckerman, perfectly aiming a skip header just inside the left post to beat Portland keeper Troy Perkins. Once the monkey came off his back, Alvaro pounded another emphatic header past the keeper in the 62nd minute after charging down a 25 yard cross sent in from the sideline by Chris Wingert. The scoring didn't end there. Sabo earned a penalty kick in the 74th minute when Diego Charra, the player who pushed Javier Morales to the ground in the 64th minute, threw up a hand ball to save a sure goal from Sabo. He cooly slotted an easy shot against Perkins' dive to earn his first hat-trick, and second in MLS team history with the 75th minute goal.

Man of the Match (As much for his tenacity to break out of his offensive funk as for his goals.)

MIN 90
G 3
A 0
SHT 6
SOG 3
CK 0
OF 0
FC 0
FS 0

Card: None

Grade: A

Paulo Junior (FWD)

Paulo was everywhere, eager to show he deserves to be in the starting lineup at striker with Fabian Espindola out on yellow card suspension. At times it came across a bit too frenetic, but sometimes it messed with Portland's defensive shape enough to uncover cracks that RSL should have exploited. Paulo didn't take a single shot to make the stat sheet in the first half. He did have a very nice attempt in the 50th minute off a nicely placed Kyle Beckerman pass that Paulo bent straight into Troy Perkins hands.

MIN 54
G 0
A 0
SHT 1
SOG 1
CK 0
OF 0
FC 0
FS 2

Card: None

Grade: B

Luis Gil (RM, SUB)

Luis was subbed into the game in the 24th minute for Ned Grabavoy who had clearly been limping much of the second 10 minutes of the first half with what looked like a re-aggravation of the groin strain that had sidelined him the last few of games. Luis had an immediate impact, showing a greater propensity to drive forward in contrast to Grabavoy's holding style of play. As the game wore on, Luis gained momentum, linking up with Javier Morales and Kyle Beckerman numerous times to string together some beautiful streaks of possession. The threesome used that possession play to break down Portland both in the middle and along the wings, and it was Gil's pass from just off the right corner to Kyle Beckerman that gave Alvaro Saborio his first goal.

MIN 66
G 0
A 0
SHT 0
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 1
FS 0

Card: None

Grade: A-

Emiliano Bongfili (FWD, SUB)

Emiliano was subbed on in place of Paulo Junior in the 54th minute. He played the role of pest as well as Paulo, with good runs and a willingness to track back on defense, but he seemed more adept at creating dangerous attacking options than Paulo, getting off a couple of very good shots. His best came in the 90th minute when he sent a hard-low one in off a neatly played ball from Javier Morales that Perkins was just able to get down on and parry wide left.

MIN 36
G 0
A 0
SHT 1
SOG 1
CK 0
OF 1
FC 1
FS 1

Card: None

Grade: B+

Kwame Watson-Siriboe (CM, SUB)

Watson-Siriboe came on in the 82nd minute to protect Jamison Olave's recovering hamstring, and played well. He may not quiet have the frame of a Jamison Olave, but he's tall and athletic and seems to have a good eye for defensive positioning. Portland never really tested Watson-Siriboe, but on the few occasions when they attempted to, he was equal to the challenge.

MIN 8
G 0
A 0
SHT 0
SOG 0
CK 0
OF 0
FC 0
FS 0

Card: None

Grade: B+