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D.C. United vs. Portland Timbers: United settle for 1-1 draw in Northwest

Bright Dike's equalizer cancels out Chris Pontius' second-half penalty as United inch closer to ending their MLS playoff drought.

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D.C. United settle for 1-1 Portland draw

Bright Dike's equalizer in the 79th minute canceled out Chris Pontius' earlier penalty kick as D.C. United and the Portland Timbers shared the points with a 1-1 draw Saturday night at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon.

Pontius had given United a 1-0 lead on the hour mark after referee Michael Kennedy had awarded a penalty against Portland's David Horst when assistant referee Craig Lowry flagged the defender for handling the ball in the area. Television replays were inconclusive as to whether Perry Kitchen's cross grazed Horst's extended left arm. However harsh the decision appeared, Pontius took advantage by finishing the penalty kick low to Joe Bendik's right.

With their own playoff lives hanging in the balance, Portland redoubled their efforts and they were finally rewarded in the 79th minute when Steven Smith's cross from the left wing got stuck under Andy Najar's body. With United unable to clear their lines, Dike got to the ball first, and finished high into the net from a tight angle to level the score.

The draw gave United their 51st point of the season and kept them alone in fourth place in MLS' Eastern Conference, two points ahead of fifth-place Houston and three points ahead of sixth-place Columbus (the top five teams in each conference make the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs).

United resume their long road trip Saturday afternoon when they travel to BMO Field to face Toronto FC. Kick-off is set for 1:00 p.m.


United, Timbers scoreless at half

D.C. United and the Portland Timbers are tied 0-0 at halftime at beautiful Jeld-Wen Field in Oregon.

United has held possession of the ball for 53 percent of the time, but has yet to have a shot that's on frame. D.C. has had some chances and released six attempts, but none that have forced a save out of Portland goalkeeper Joe Bendik.

The Timbers have put three shots on frame but have been turned away at every attempt by the stellar play of Jake Gleeson.

The match has been very clean for the most part, with the only yellow card going to Portland midfielder Rodney Wallace. Overall, 13 fouls have been whistled with seven going against the Timbers.

The contest is an extremely important one for United, who currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 50 points. If D.C. can pull out a win, it will vault into a three-way tie for second behind Sporting Kansas City.

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