D.C. United At Portland Timbers: United Snap Portland Home Winning Streak With Bizarre 3-2 Win

Goals from Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius, and Josh Wolff help D.C. United survive a bizarre equalizer and snap the Timbers' five-game home winning streak

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D.C. United at Portland Timbers: United Survive Penalty-Mad Second Half To Win 3-2

D.C. United snapped the Portland Timbers' season-opening five-game winning streak as the Black-and-Red fought off a truly bizarre equalizer for Portland early in the first half and rallied to take a 3-1 lead before holding on to win, 3-2.

The drama began in the 64th minute when Dejan Jakovic was penalized for pulling down Kenny Cooper in the six-yard area. Cooper picked himself up to take the initial penalty, which was stopped by Bill Hamid going low to his right. However, assistant referee Eric Proctor raised his flag and ruled that Hamid had come off the goal line prior to Cooper striking the penalty, which meant it would have to be retaken. Cooper took the second penalty, this time going low to Hamid's left, and again the young United goalkeeper got on the ground to stop it. However, Proctor again ruled that Hamid had come off the goal line too early, and a third take was necessary.

With United's players and bench in an absolute frenzy, and Hamid booked for dissension, Portland head coach John Spencer tapped Jack Jewsbury to take the third penalty kick, much to Cooper's displeasure (the former 1860 Munich man was subbed out moments later). Jewsbury buried an unstoppable penalty kick low to Hamid's right to tie the game, 1-1 in the 68th minute.

To their immense credit, D.C. United kept their collective heads about them and continued to press for a go-ahead goal, which finally came in the 75th minute. A long ball from the right wing by Perry Kitchen was headed down in the Portland penalty area and eventually controlled by Chris Pontius. As Pontius squared up to shoot, however, Diego Chara came in with a sliding tackle, only to see the uncontrolled ball deflect off his hand right in front of referee Geoff Gamble (who was officiating only his second MLS game). Pontius himself did the honors, firing an unstoppable penalty kick high into the net past former United keeper Troy Perkins to make the score 2-1.

D.C. United appeared to wrap the match up in the 85th minute, as Josh Wolff, who had come on in the 51st minute to replace Joseph Ngwenya,chased down a goal kick by Bill Hamid that had been headed on by Blake Brettschneider and dinked past an onrushing Perkins to make the score 3-1.

But United were caught napping at the back as the clock approached 90 minutes, and Portland made them pay for it, as a long throw-in from the left side was just barely headed past the reach of a diving Hamid by Jorge Perlaza to bring Portland back to 3-2. Perlaza came very close to breaking United's heart in the first minute of stoppage time with a screaming left-footed shot from outside the box, but the ball banged into the advertising hoardings just wide of Hamid's left post.


D.C. United At Portland Timbers: Perry Kitchen's First MLS Goal Puts D.C. United Up 1-0 At Halftime

D.C. United rookie defender Perry Kitchen scored his first-ever MLS goal in the 13th minute as D.C. United lead the Portland Timbers 1-0 at halftime. The Black-and-Red are attempting to become the first team to defeat Portland at Jeld-Wen Field in MLS play.

Kitchen's goal was a training-ground routine worked to perfection. It started with a thrown-in by Chris Pontius from the left sideline that found Blake Brettschneider at the byline to the right of Troy Perkins' goal. Brettschenider provided a lovely cusion header into the six-yard area, and Kitchen was on hand to turn the ball home. Kitchen's marker meant that United was the first MLS team to score the first goal at Jeld-Wen Field this season.

Portland, however, pressed hard for an equalizer in the final 30 minutes of the first half, culminating in the 42nd minute, when Kenny Cooper's finish past Bill Hamid was marginally, but correctly, ruled out for being offside. Sal Zizzo also tested Hamid in the dying moments of the half with a low, fizzing shot that required Hamid to drop quickly to the ground to turn the ball around the post.

United were not completely chanceless themselves, and Joseph Ngwenya should have put the visitors 2-up in the 40th minute as he latched on to a fine diagonal ball from Pontius, but the Zimbabwean couldn't get enough power on his downward header to beat Perkins. Pontius caused more havoc in the Portland box in the last minute of the first half with a well-place free kick, but no United player could direct the ball on net.

United coach Ben Olsen wound up making three changes to his habitual starting lineup, as Ngwenya and Brettschneider replaced the injured Charlie Davies (hamstring) and Josh Wolff (groin), the latter of whom started the game on the bench. Dax McCarty was also unable to play thanks to a groin strain suffered in training Friday, which resulted in Stephen King partnering captain Clyde Simms in central midfield.


D.C. United At Portland Timbers: Black-And-Red Hit The Road Again

After a run of hosting three MLS matches and one friendly at RFK Stadium, D.C. United return to the road this Memorial Day weekend as they make their first league visit to the fortress that is Jeld-Wen Field to take on the expansion Portland Timbers.

D.C. United (3-4-3) at Portland Timbers (5-3-2)

Time: 5:00 p.m., Sunday, May 29.

Place: Jeld-Wen Field, Portland, Oregon.


Team News and Tactics

D.C. United: Ben Olsen will have slightly fewer options to choose from as he selects his first XI for this one. Santino Quaranta (concussion) and Marc Burch (hamstring) did not travel with the team to the Northwest, making starts for Andy Najar and Daniel Woolard an apparent certainty. Look for Dejan Jakovic to get the start at center-back in his final game before joining his Canadian national teammates in preparation for the Gold Cup. Charlie Davies will likely miss this match, thanks to the strained hamstring suffered against Colorado May 14. Josh Wolff (groin) was upgraded to probable earlier this week, and seems likely to start alongside, in all probability, Joseph Ngwenya.

Portland: United old boys Troy Perkins and Rodney Wallace will be in the starting XI against their former club Sunday, which might add a certain extra zest to the proceedings. Having said that, don't look for too many surprises from John Spencer, who seems likely to stick with the 4-1-3-2 that brought Portland a 1-0 win over Columbus last weekend, with Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza leading the line and the midfield trio of Jack Jewsbury, Darlington Nagbe, and Kalif Alhassan aiming to wreak havoc in United's back line.

Key to the Game

Don't Be Intimidated: D.C. United's players will have likely heard all about the rowdy and raucous group known as the Timbers Army. They may or may not know that Jeld-Wen Field has one of the smallest fields in MLS (110 x 70 yards, to be exact). But United shouldn't let either of those realities deter them from changing their overall approach to this match. Their best chance of success, especially with Davies missing and Wolff not at 100%, will come via the flank attacks of Najar and Chris Pontius.

Bonus Miscellaneous Fact

Portland is the only team in MLS to have won all their home games.

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