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.