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Game at a Glance: Portland at Real Salt Lake

Portland Timbers v Real Salt Lake

SANDY, UT - OCTOBER 22: John Spencer, head coach of the Portland Timbers, gestures to an official during a game against Real Salt Lake during the first half of an MLS soccer game October 22, 2011 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real Salt lake and the Portland Timbers played to a 1-1 tie. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

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Story from Portland’s side: The Timbers are rockin’ it at Jeld-Wen these days, undefeated there in six matches. But, oh, ye Timbers of the road! Portland is one of two MLS sides without a win away from home this year. In their last trip outside Oregon, John Spencer’s men finished on the business end of a 3-0 bruising at Colorado. Rio Tinto Stadium has been something less than a fortress this year, but still no easy place.

More counter attacking the way Man of the Match Franck Songo’o ran it last week to great effect in Tuesday’s huge win over San Jose? Yes, that would be the way forward tonight.

If new man Kosuke Kimura starts at right back tonight, which I would expect, what does that mean for Jack Jewsbury?

Story from Real Salt Lake side: After allowing two goals in three consecutive contests, RSL got back to better defending in a 0-0 mid-week draw against Seattle. Splitting points at home will never quite satisfy this team, one of the best in MLS over the last three years. Still, for a team that had lost its previous trio, a draw is movement in the right direction, at least. The defense is slowly getting healthier, which is certainly related to Wednesday’s breakthrough shutout. The team’s first-choice back four (Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert) were all on the field Wednesday.

More reading: A little defensive reinforcement from an unlikely source is helping at Rio Tinto.

Franck Songo’o may have picked up an injury in Tuesday’s win over San Jose, so we’ll see.

The stat-and-fact heavy preview is here:

Time, place and TV: 9 p.m. ET, MLS Live and Direct Kick