Sandy, UT (Sports Network) - Real Salt Lake increased its lead at the top of the Western Conference on Friday by rolling to a 4-2 win over the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Joao Plata scored a goal and assisted on two more, while Javier Morales tallied a goal and an assist in the second half for RSL, which moves eight points clear of second-place Los Angeles.
The Timbers got a goal from Darlington Nagbe in the 31st minute, but the club's chances were severely reduced when Ben Zemanski was sent off on the stroke of halftime with Portland trailing 2-1.
Luis Gil opened the scoring for the home side after nine minutes following a clever flick from Plata, while the diminutive forward found the net himself in the 15th with a well-placed shot from inside the penalty area.
A long-range strike from Nagbe managed to skip past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando in the 31st to cut Portland's deficit in half, but Zemanski's red card for a high challenge on RSL's Ned Grabavoy was a big turning point.
Morales scored one of the better goals this season in the 55th when he took a touch to control Plata's corner kick and fired an overhead kick off the left post and into the net.
Alvaro Saborio padded the lead in the 67th when he beat Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts with a glancing header from a Morales free kick, while Sal Zizzo netted a consolation goal for Portland 12 minutes from time when he scored on the rebound.
Portland has now earned just one win from its last seven games.