Timbers lose on the road

Timbers lose on the road
Real Salt Lake's Beltran, rear, and Portland Timbers' Danny Mwanga fight for position during an MLS soccer game Saturday, July 7, 2012, in Sandy, Utah. (AP Photo/Deseret News, Tom Smart)

SANDY, Utah (AP) — Alvaro Saborio found a way to end Real Salt Lake's scoring woes.

Saborio scored three second-half goals to help Real Salt Lake earn a 3-0 victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

RSL (11-6-3) snapped a four-game winless streak. Salt Lake also snapped a three-game winless streak at its home stadium. Portland (5-8-4) lost its third straight road game and is still winless away from home this season.

Before Saborio's hat trick, RSL had gone 249 minutes without scoring a goal. He became just the third player in Salt Lake history to notch a hat trick in a game.

"The goal — it opens everything," Saborio said. "We finally scored first and got a win."

Saborio broke the prolonged scoring drought for Salt Lake in the 60th minute. Luis Gil crossed the ball up top to Kyle Beckerman. Then Beckerman floated a pass down to Saborio in the center of the box. Saborio headed in the ball from a difficult angle to make it 1-0.

He came up with his second goal two minutes later. Chris Wingert fired a pass deep into the center of the box. Saborio met the ball on the run and headed it past Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins to lift Salt Lake to a 2-0 lead.

Saborio added to his tally when he converted a penalty kick following a handball call on Diego Chara to make 3-0 in the 75th minute.

RSL coach Jason Kreis praised his team's effort as another step forward in a solid week of soccer.

"We made it clear to the players that we wanted to go back to the basics and establish a foundation," Kreis said. "We did that very well Wednesday night (against Seattle) by not allowing that team to score against us. And then we put it all together tonight. I feel like we've moved a step in the right direction."

Salt Lake could not end its offensive drought before halftime, even though the team dominated possession and had a few shots at the goal. Finishing those shots proved problematic.

The best first-half scoring chance for Real came when Saborio pulled the trigger in the 18th minute and fired it down the center of the box. Saborio's shot never reached its intended target because teammate Paulo, Jr. accidentally deflected the ball away.

Portland fared no better. The Timbers did not generate a single shot on goal in either half and had only five shots total in that span.

"It was a good game for us," RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "We were able to control the game for a full 90 minutes."

Timbers coach John Spencer felt as if his team made up for offensive struggles with sound defense — at least until Saborio got going. After that first goal, Portland lost confidence and focus on the defensive end.

"You got to keep focused," Spencer said. "You got to keep in the game. You got to try to move the ball when you can. If you lose that individual battle, as we did on a couple of occasions, you get punished."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.