Sunday afternoon was a disappointing one for Portland Timber fans, as the team showed resilience late, but fell in a 3-2 bout against D.C. United, one of the youngest teams in MLS.
Sunday afternoon was a disappointing one for Portland Timber fans, as the team showed resilience late, but fell in a 3-2 bout against D.C. United, one of the youngest teams in MLS. The loss to D.C.is the first match the Timbers have dropped at home in the 2011 MLS regular season. Portland dropped to fifth place in the Western Conference with a record of 5-4-2 for 17 points total in the overall table.
Sunday’s contest was a messy affair and saw four separate penalty kicks taken and two Timbers goals waved off due to offside calls. Portland looked flat from the start, allowing multiple shooting opportunities in the opening minutes. Timbers head coach John Spencer addressed the slow start and how it ultimately decided the game.
“We started sloppy in the Philly game and got away with it,” Spencer said in a media statement. “We started sloppy against Columbus and got away with it. Today we got punished.”
The comments specifically referenced the early 1-0 deficit Portland suffered after only 13 minutes of play on Sunday. The goal was scored by United rookie defender Perry Kitchen, who was able to get a header into the back of the net off of a cross from forward Blake Brettschneider. The 1-0 lead would remain into the half, as Portland struggled to get looks at the net without being called for offside penalties.
The second half started slow for both teams, but a lucky break showed that Portland would have its opportunity to level. In the 60th minute of play, United defender Dejan Jakovic pulled down Kenny Cooper in front of the goal off of a corner kick, allowing Portland a penalty kick and chance to equalize. Cooped stepped back and took his shot, with D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid saving the attempt. Hamid, however was called for leaving his line. The same result happened once again as Cooper was denied and Hamid was called for moving early.
The back-to-back misses by Cooper proved to be more than enough for coach Spencer, who seemed furious that Cooper was taking the shot. Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury replaced Cooper as the one to take the shot and was able to convert. Jewsbury was able to make Hamid miss and level the score at 1-1 with 25 minutes remaining in play.
The excitement at Jeld-Wen was short-lived though as the United crew remained relentless in their attack after the equalizer. The Timbers were on their heels, playing tough defense as D.C United was able to stay out of their half of the field. Only 10 minutes after Portland celebrated it’s game saving goal, the opposition fired back.
Timbers midfielder Diego Chara slid and tackled Chris Pontius inside the 18-yard box while also managing to get a hand on the ball. The unfortunate play set up a penalty kick for D.C. United and Pontius was able to easily send the ball in above Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
With the 2-1 lead and apparent momentum, D.C. United remained relentless in their attack. In the 85th minute United scored once again off of a ball sent the length of the field by keeper Hamid, connecting with Brettschneider who was able to quickly pass to an open Josh Wolf. Wolf utilized the space and was able to score, putting D.C. up 3-1 and taking the air out of the infamous Jeld-Wen crowd.
Portland did however have a moment of hope in the 88th minute after Jorge Perlaza headed in a freekick from Jeremy Hall, closing the deficit to one goal. The goal proved to be too little too late though and D.C. United skewed the 5-0-0 home record Portland had battled so hard to attain so far this season. The Timbers were simply outplayed from start to finish, as D.C. won without starting players, Charlie Davis and Dax McCarty. Portland took eight corner kicks compared with two for United, and was unable to capitalize on any of the typically dangerous opportunities.
It may have just been the Timbers getting too comfortable at home, but as they now go back on the road where they have yet to win, there should be plenty of means to motivate them for redemption. The Timbers now travel to California to take on the struggling Chivas USA squad at the Home Depot Center. Portland was able to take their first-ever win as a team against the Chivas in March during U.S. Open Cup play, where they prevailed 2-0. The game is set for this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.