PORTLAND, OR – D.C. United punctured the Portland Timbers’ air of invincibility at JELD-WEN Field on Sunday, defeating the home side, 3-2.
Missing key offensive weapons Charlie Davies and Dax McCarty, both out with injuries, D.C. United became the first team in six to earn an MLS regular season victory in Portland.
It was a game that followed none of the familiar scripts at JELD-WEN Field — and it included four penalty kicks.
DC got on the board in the 13th minute when rookie Perry Kitchen slotted home a ball off the head of fellow freshman Blake Brettschneider. United held that 1-0 lead a halftime, the first deficit for the Timbers at home at the break.
In the second half, Timbers caught a break when Dejan Jacovic pulled down forward Kenny Cooper in the penalty box. Cooper stepped up to convert the penalty kick, but he saw not one, but two of his efforts saved by D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Each time, Hamid was called by the assistant referee for leaving his line to make the save.
On the third try, Cooper moved aside for Jack Jewsbury, who slotted in the equalizer in the 65th minute. Cooper came out of the game soon after his adventure with the penalty kicks, replaced by Ryan Pore in the 70th minute.
But DC kept pushing, and 10 minutes later Diego Chara tackled Chris Pontius inside the 18-yard box before seemingly handling the ball, giving United a penalty opportunity. Pontius lifted his shot into the net while goalkeeper Troy Perkins went low and to his left.
DC then extended their lead to 3-1 when Josh Wolf scored in the 85th minute after collecting Brettschneider's flick-on from Hamid's deep goal kick.
The Black-and-Red paid particular attention to the Timbers’ recent run of success with set pieces, locating tall defenders Eric Brunner and Mamadou “Futty” Danso and preventing them from getting onto Jewsbury’s service on free kicks.
However, the Timbers eventually found success via the dead ball when Jorge Perlaza headed in Jeremy Hall's free kick in the 88th, lifting the home crowd in the dying minutes as Portland looked to rally for a point.
The comeback was never completed, though, and DC held on to earn a rare road victory at JELD-WEN Field.
DC -- Perry Kitchen 1 (Chris Pontius 1, Blake Brettschneider 1) 13
POR -- Jack Jewsbury 3 (penalty kick) 67
DC -- Chris Pontius 4 (penalty kick) 75
DC -- Josh Wolff 3 (Blake Brettschneider 2) 85
POR -- Jorge Perlaza 3 (Jeremy Hall 2) 88
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar (Fred 87), Stephen King, Clyde Simms, Chris Pontius, Blake Brettschneider, Joseph Ngwenya (Josh Wolff 51) (Brandon Barklage 91+).
Substitutes Not Used: Rodrigo Brasesco, Chris Korb, Conor Shanosky, Joe Willis.
Portland Timbers -- Troy Perkins, Jeremy Hall, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace, Sal Zizzo, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara (Adam Moffat 84), Kalif Alhassan, Kenny Cooper (Ryan Pore 69), Jorge Perlaza.
Substitutes Not Used: David Horst, Eddie Johnson, James Marcelin, Darlington Nagbe, Adin Brown.
DC -- Dejan Jakovic (caution; Reckless Tackle) 57
DC -- Bill Hamid (caution; Dissent) 66
Referee: Geoff Gamble
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Eric Proctor
4th Official: Silviu Petrescu
Time of Game: 1:50