DC United became the first team to beat the Portland at home, and the first East coast team in MLS to win on the West coast so far this season with a resounding 3-2 win over the Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field.
DC United raced out to early lead behind Perry Kitchen’s first ever MLS goal in the 14th minute, and after Portland rallied to tie in the second half, United’s Chris Pontius again put DC out in front with a second half penalty kick before substitute Josh Wolff (pictured) scored the winner from the run of play in the 85th minute. Portland added a late goal to make the final score 3-2.
With the home side woefully overconfident, DC United dominated play for most of the first half despite the lack of some starters due to injury. In the 14th minute, Chris Pontius launched a fantastic throw-in play to rookie Blake Brettschneider on the near post end line. He nodded the ball back in front of goal to Perry Kitchen who beat former DC defender Rodney Wallace to the ball easily to give United the early lead, and put Portland behind for the first time at home all year..
DC Continued to dominate play for the majority of the first half, although only mildly threatening former DC keeper Troy Perkins in the first half. Portland barely registered a shot on goal until former US under 20 player Sal Zizzo cracked a shot just wide in the 45th minute.
Portland did have two clear chances on both sides of halftime muffed by Portland’s Kenny Cooper, who scored but had both called back as he was clearly offside both times. Portland also had another free kick barely scrambled away when Portland’s Futty Danso got a toe on the end of a Jewsbury free kick in the 60th minute, but United’s Bill Hamid made a huge save to preserve the lead.
Hamid was then the victim of some over officiating in the 64th minute however, when Portland’s Kenny Cooper was awarded a couple of undeserved penalty kicks. First of all, on Portland’s long throw in to Cooper in the box, DC’s Dejan Jakovic plays it perfectly, fighting off the challenge of Cooper to poke the ball away, but Cooper managed to hoodwink the referee by falling into Jakovic and as both tumbled to the ground in the area, the referee called the penalty.
Justice seemed to be done when Hamid saved Cooper’s first PK, but when Hamid was called for coming off his line early due to Cooper’s stutter step approach, Portland was awarded another try. Again Cooper stuttered and had his shot saved only for it to incredibly be called back again due to the letter of the law. Finally, Portland sent Jack Jewsbury up to blast in the third attempt, and despite the fact that Cooper was clearly in the box early if we are sticking to the letter of the law, it was counted. But I digress. Regardless, Jewsbury’s PK leveled the score at one all.
However, United was to scrape out another lead 10 minutes later as a bit of justice was enforced. United’s Josh Wolff, who had come on in the second half for Joseph Ngwenya, laid a ball off to Pontius who cut back in the box behind the slide of Portland’s Diego Chara, who perhaps inadvertently swiped the ball away with his hand. Regardless, the PK was called correctly and Pontius roofed it eschewing any stutter-stepping shenanigans to make the score 2-1 for DC.
Wolff stretched the lead in the 85th minute as Hamid bombed a long clear for Brettschneider to skim on to Wolff behind the Portland defense and he beat former DC keeper Troy Perkins easily to make it 3-1.
Portland managed to close the lead to a goal in the 88th minute as former DC defender Rodney Wallace launched a long throw into the box that Portland’s Jorge Perlaza beat Kitchen to and skimmed into the far post side netting to complete the scoring.
DC survived another flurry late as Perlaza’s last shot in injury time whistled wide to give United the first win of the year for any Eastern team playing in the Western time zone. East teams had gone 0-10-6 until tonite.
It was huge win for DC and extended their unbeaten streak to four games, as they equaled their record to 4-4-3 with 2 home wins and 2 away. Portland had been the only MLS team undefeated and untied at home until tonite at 5-0-0.
Next up DC United faces the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center next Friday night before returning home to face the SJ Earthquakes in their next home match.
Notes – leading scorer Charlie Davies was sidelined with a hamstring problem and captain Dax McCarty was a late scratch with a slight groin problem, and Santino Quaranta didn’t make the trip as a precautionary measure due to a concussion suffered in practice this week.