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Sandy • Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales scored their first goals in three months in the first half to lead Real Salt Lake to a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in front of a soldout crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

The victory kept RSL in the thick of the Major League Soccer playoff race, and kept the Timbers winless on the road at 0-11-4 this season.

RSL had scored only three goals in its previous six league games, and leading scorer Alvaro Saborio was out with a shoulder injury. Espindola had not scored since June 16, and Morales had not struck since June 23.

Portland's Bright Dike put home a header in the 61st minute to halve the lead, but the Timbers could not find another to steal a point. They had two great chances, but RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando leaped high to punch away a free kick in the 82nd minute, and Dike put an open shot off the crossbar in the 86th.

With 49 points in the standings, RSL could be in second place in the MLS Western Conference standings if Seattle can't beat first-place San Jose at home later Saturday night. Otherwise, it will remain at least in third and in position to avoid the new wild-card game in the playoffs.

Twitter: @MCLTribune

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