D.C. United (5-9-6) look to make it three straight wins at Audi Field this Wednesday against Portland after a 95th-minute winner from Luciano Acosta on Sunday sent the home fans into a frenzy.
The Black-and-Red have not lost in their previous three matches, gaining seven points in the process and posting two home wins and a draw in Montreal. Conversely, the Portland Timbers (10-4-7) have just seen their 15-game unbeaten streak snapped at the hands of the Vancouver Whitecaps in a 2-1 defeat. The Timbers have won four of the eight all-time matches against United, and while Portland routed United 4-0 in their last meeting at the end of the 2017 season, the sides' previous meeting in the District resulted in a 2-0 victory for United on Aug. 13, 2016.
The Black-and-Red are riding the high of Sunday's win and hoping the heroics of the last-second goal can prove to be a turning point in their playoff push. Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta have continued to develop a partnership on the field, linking up to give the attack a constant source of creativity and finesse in the final third. Acosta is currently riding a three-game point streak, tallying three goals and two assists in the process, while Rooney had his first multi-point game on Sunday with his two assists, in addition to scoring his first career MLS goal against Colorado on July 28. Both men were named to MLS' Team of the Week thanks to their performances on Sunday, and Acosta was voted MLS' Alcatel Player of the Week and nominated for MLS' Goal of the Week.
After a frustrating injury spell, Kofi Opare has reentered the lineup and reinforced the United backline. In the three games since his return, United are averaging 1.33 goals conceded per game—one of the defense's strongest three-game stretches of the season. With the new defensive signing of former Timbers left back Vytas and the return of goalkeeper Bill Hamid, United also boast additional resources on their bench. And with three home matches in eight days, lineup tweaks for the sake of health and stamina could be in the works.
While the Black-and-Red will be looking to sustain Sunday's energy, Portland will be looking to bounce back from a frustrating defeat to the Whitecaps in their prior match. The Timbers found themselves in a two-goal deficit within the first 43 minutes of the game. Portland's leading goalscorer, Diego Valeri, struck from the penalty spot in the 71st minute to bring his team back in the game, but ultimately Portland's efforts would fall short in a 2-1 defeat. Despite the disappointing loss, the Timbers now leave the Pacific Northwest with no real fear of road matches—Portland are undefeated in their last five away games (3-0-2) after a rocky start on the road.
Much of Portland's success flows through Valeri, who already has 10 assists this season and is just four assists shy of the club's season record of 14, set by Valeri in 2014. The midfielder also leads the team in goals with nine. Valeri may be the Timbers' leading man, but goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has quietly excelled between the posts all season as well, posting six shutouts and 49 saves on 61 shots faced, ranking him fourth in league with a 72% save percentage.
Enjoy midweek soccer at Audi Field as the Black-and-Red look to continue to push toward the playoff line in this critical three-match week. Click here to buy tickets, or tune in to WJLA 24/7 News, CW Richmond, or ESPN+ for pregame coverage at 7:30 PM ET.