SANDY (AP) — Jefferson Savarino scored early and Real Salt Lake went on to secure a spot in the MLS playoffs with a 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on Sunday.
Rubio Mendez and Bode Hidalgo also scored for Salt Lake (12-11-11), which had not won a match since Aug. 31. RSL had just three victories in its last 16 games.
The Timbers (11-10-13), rocked by scandal in the past week, needed a victory or draw over Salt Lake to make the playoffs. With the loss, Portland was eliminated.
The Timbers share ownership with the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League. Earlier this week, an investigation was released that detailed misconduct in the NWSL.
The investigation looked at sexual coercion and harassment allegations leveled at a former Thorns coach. In the fallout, the club fired a pair of executives on Wednesday.
Savarino scored in the 19th minute and Mendez added another in the 49th. RSL, which dominated the match, got one more goal from Hidalgo in the 86th.
Dairon Asprilla’s goal in the 87th for the Timbers avoided a shutout. Portland was without midfielder Diego Chara, who had a stomach ailment.
Last season, Salt Lake earned the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and advanced to the conference finals, finally losing to Portland.
The Timbers went to the MLS Cup championship game but fell to NYCFC for the title.