D.C. United (12-10-9, 45 points) defeats Portland Timbers (13-12-4, 43 Points), 0-1 at Providence Park to earn the club’s sixth road victory of the season. Bill Hamid and the defensive backline earned its eleventh shutout of the season.
“There were four or five guys that were laid out after that game. Absolutely exhausted and it shows that this group is committed and wants to do something in the playoffs.” Head Coach Ben Olsen said after the match. The Black-and-Red were rewarded for their hard work in the 25th minute after Ulises Segura sent a cross into the middle of the box and Bill Touiloma knocked the ball into his own net for the game’s only goal.
Paul Arriola nearly finished his eighth of the season in the 15th minute of the match. Frédéric Brillant played a driven ball through tight space and Arriola’s deft touch allowed him to drive the ball to the edge of the box. The California native rifled a shot to the center of the goal and forced Steve Clark to make a good save early on.
United’s Júnior Moreno and Wayne Rooney connected with a quick passing combination that culminated with Segura receiving the ball down the rightwing. The Costa Rican played a ball across the goalmouth and Touiloma’s defensive efforts ended with an own goal. United took an early 1-0 lead.
In the 38th minute, Rooney whipped in a pacey corner kick that ricochetted off several Timbers players and ended up crossing the goal line. VAR was used however they viewed the wrong angle and did not allow the goal. “It did cross the line,” Rooney said with a smile after the match. “I took the corner and I was quite a distance away but all of the players saw still shots of the ball over the line and it’s a shame because it would have made the game easier on us.”
United took the 0-1 lead into the locker room at halftime. The second half was a test for United defensively, as they dug in and gutted out the club’s eleventh shutout of the season. Hamid’s best save of the match occurred in the 60th minute after Portland Timber’s Eryk Williamson drove a shot off of Joseph Mora’s leg, after which Hamid adjusted his positioning and stopped the deflected shot to keep United’s shutout bid alive.
In the 68th minute, Rooney received the ball from Moreno and used clever footwork to slide by a waiting Diego Chara. Rooney followed his dribble up with a low line drive that forced another solid save from Clark.
The opportunity to seal the match for United came in the 82nd minute. After Arriola charged forward after a fantastic ball was played by Segura. Arriola took a touch and fired a shot from close range. Clark reached behind him and palmed the ball away and off of the post to keep it a one-goal match.
United’s defense didn't buckle down the stretch and the Black-and-Red ended the match the victors after a 1-0 clean sheet performance. The club’s first win at Providence Park since May 25th, 2011. Russell Canouse once again played a key part on defense he finished the match with four tackles, four interceptions and won back possession for United five times during his second shift at right-back for D.C. United.
United will next take on the Seattle Sounders at Audi Field on September 22nd at Audi Field. Kick-off is set for 8 PM at Buzzard Point as United enter the final three-game stretch of the season. The match will be broadcast on FloFC starting at 7:30 PM ET. Tickets for the match at available, here.