Two Timbers face their former club tonight as Portland puts its perfect MLS home record on the line at 2 p.m. today (on Fox-12 TV and 750 AM) against DC United.
Keeper Troy Perkins and defender Rodney Wallace will take on their former mates, which leaves me wondering if head coach John Spencer sent any text messages last night.
The United have won the MLS Cup four times, but are coming an abysmal 2010 campaign. Still, DC is beginning to show some signs of life this season, having put together a three-match unbeaten streak. But, as you know, Portland is as tough as it gets at home this season, boasting a 5-0-0 mark when it matters.
Follow along after the jump for all the action on and off the pitch on an overcast, but overall lovely night for soccer at The Mill.
Pregame—It's Military Appreciation night here, and a color guard is on the sideline to present the flags before the anthem. A large plume of smoke over the field (oddly enough, one not coming from Timbers Army) after a fireworks display just scared the living daylights out of the press box.
Your starting XIs:
Portland—Perkins in goal. Perlaza and Cooper up front. Alhassan, Chará, Jewsbury and Zizzo at midfield. Wallace, Futty, Brunner and Hall on defense. Jewsbury is the captain and Zizzo makes his first MLS start as a Timber. Timbers in green jerseys and white shorts.
DC—Bill Hamid in goal. Joseph Ngwenya and Blake Brettschneider up front. Chris Pontius (no, not that Chris Pontius), Clyde Simms, Stephen King and Andy Najar at midfield. Daniel Woolard, Dejan Jakovic, Ethan White and Perry Kitchen on defense. United are in all black with white trim. DC star Charlie Davies not in the lineup or reserves tonight. He's nursing a hamstring.
This game could tilt on set pieces: Portland's been outstanding on free and corner kicks this year, while the United have had troubles against them. DC has also struggled giving up early goals this year, and if that trend continues, it'd certainly benefit a Portland team that's played well when ahead this year.
And we're underway...
1st minute—Two early whistles as referee Geoff Gamble looks to establish himself in his second-ever MLS match.
3rd minute—Cooper plays one back to Perkins after a nice tackle by Alhassan. The keeper then plays a long ball up to Perlaza who shows his speed chasing it down.
4th minute—Alhassan plays a nice ball behind the DC defense to Cooper, who's offside. Hamid stone-cold blocks his shot on a slide, but Portland's showing its superior speed early here.
7th minute—A couple of nice passes from Chará and Wallace (maybe some of the Ajax footwork rubbed off?) leads to nice run by Alhassan and a corner for Portland. Jewsbury's service is over the pack and a throw-in does the same.
11th minute—A cross-field pass from Wallace to Zizzo brings the crowd up a bit. Hall lobs one in, but it's gathered in by Hamid.
13th minute—DC GOAL Off a Pontius throw-in, the ball's deflected in on a header by Brettschneider and Kitchen does the rest, hammering home his first goal of the season right from 10 yards in front of the goal. 1-0 United. The Timbers now trail at home for the first time this season.
17th minute—Cooper plays a pass into the box for a streaking Wallace, but it's just out of his reach. Spencer is warming up the reserves on the sideline already, no doubt sending a message to his club. That message: Pick it the fook up. I'll tell you what, though, Timbers Army isn't phased by the early deficit. They're still cheering their faces off.
19th minute—Hall with a run down the east sideline and feeds it toward Cooper, but the big forward lets it go by thinking Zizzo was on it. He wasn't and it's an unforced error. Still, Portland's picking up the pressure a bit here.
21st minute—Another long ball in for Cooper, but it's over his head. Timbers still haven't taken a shot.
23rd minute—Wallace picks up a foul in a dangerous spot, but out of the penalty area. Ball's played to the back post, but it gets through. Another nervous moment for Portland.
24th minute—Perlaza earns Portland a corner kick on another sprint up the east side. Jewsbury's service is high for a flying Brunner, who can't get a head on it. Another cross comes in, but nice defense by DC. Wallace goes for a bicycle kick and nearly takes a United defender's head off. Better be careful: One more yellow for him, and he's suspended a game.
26th minute—Another free kick from Jewsbury comes in low and hot, but it's booted out. Timbers are getting closer every time on set pieces.
30th minute—Free kick coming and Jewsbury fakes the quick re-start. The kick comes and Ngwenya closes in to five yards and blocks it. Uh, isn't that what the spray paint's for? Ref completely missed it. Still, it stays in DC's end and Portland earns a corner kick. Jewsbury delivers it in, but it's again cleared out. The United looking like they scouted the Timbers pretty well on set-pieces.
33rd minute—Perkins collides with Brettschneider on a DC corner kick. Both are down for a second, but Perkins appears OK. Nothing short of a shiv to the gut is going to take the forever-intense Perkins out of this one.
36th minute—Hall doing a fine job bottling up Pontius and does it again to earn Portland a goal kick. Zizzo plays one in the box and Perlaza gets a header on it, but not in the direction of the net.
39th minute—Cooper is handled in DC's ends and it leads to a United counter. Ngwenya crosses one in and Zizzo gets a foot on it, but it goes dangerously high into the air toward the goal.
40th minute—Perkins with a save as Ngwenya finds himself onside but without a good angle on the net. Portland with a decent run, but it's cleared out. Portland looking frustrated here.
42nd minute—Cooper puts one in the back of the net after some fancy footwork and a left-footed blast. But he's called offside and there's no equalizer. Cooper didn't like the call and neither did the TA, but that's a bad situation for Cooper to get caught offside.
45th minute—Free kick from 50 yards out earns DC a shot on goal, but Perkins makes a nice save on a point-blank shot and Portland clears it out. DC nearly snuck another in before the half. One minute of extra time.
Zizzo zips one to the near post to earn Portland a corner. It's played high over the pack and the Timbers looked like they were in good shape to get a another chance with Perlaza bring the ball down the west side and into the box, but the ref blows his whistle three times and stops play. Rookie ref is hearing it from the crowd. That's a real tough time to stop play.
Halftime—Ugly first half for Portland, who struggled with its passing, possession and set-pieces. They fell behind early and now find themselves in an unfamiliar situation: Trailing at Jeld-Wen Field. Some controversial calls peppered the first half, but the Timbers simply didn't have their usual zest. DC leads 1-0 and Portland needs to step it up should the Timbers hope to preserve their perfect home record.
Some stats: DC out-shot Portland 5-2, with a 3-1 shots-on-goal edge. They also out-fouled them 7-5. Hmmm, which team could use a pick up in its aggressiveness in the final 45?
And we're back at it ... No substitutions for either team.
47th minute—Cooper knocked down to earn Portland a free-kick from 50 yards. Jewsbury serves it up, but it doesn't break the first line of DC's defense. It stays in DC's end, and Zizzo plays a nice header inside to Cooper, who fires one right of the net.
48th minute—Ensuing free kick is gathered up by Hamid, though it slipped out of his hands and he had to jump on it.
52nd minute—For DC, Josh Wolff in for Ngwenya. Looking at DC's roster, they have a midfielder named Fred. No last name, just Fred. I like this guy already. Zizzo blasts one from the top of the box, but it goes wide left. On the bright side for Portland, it only took seven minutes to get its first shot of the half. An improvement over the first 45, at least.
56th minute—DC playing conservatively, though they've broken away for a shot early by Wolff. Timbers showing some much-needed.
57th minute—Yellow card for Jakovic, who takes down Perlaza. Free kick coming.
58th minute—A great service on the ensuing free kick by Jewsbury, and Cooper heads it into the back of the right side of the net. But he's called offside again and there's no equalizer. Portland can't let that disappointment linger, because DC would love to sneak another one in here and really put the Timbers on their heels.
60th minute—Another free kick by Jewsbury played low and Futty gets a flying header on it. Saved by Hamid. Portland has definitely pick it up here in the early going.
62nd minute—A corner from Portland is over Cooper's head and Zizzo lets it past him. Goal kick coming from DC, and Hamid takes his time to try to take a bit of air out of this renewed Portland attack.
64th minute—Hall with a long throw in and Cooper is knocked to his back by Jacovic inside the box. It'll be a PK for Portland, the first of its season.
65th minute—Cooper's right-footed PK is saved by a diving Hamid. But he comes off his line and Cooper earns another PK.
66th minute—Another Cooper PK chance SAVED by Hamid, but the ref AGAIN calls him off his line! Wow, twice in a row! Unreal.
68th minute—PORTLAND GOAL The third time's a charm as Jewsbury takes the penalty kick, goes low and left and puts it into the back of the net. A crazy turn of events here as Portland gets three chances at the PK. Wow. We're tied 1-1. Hamid earns a yellow for arguing after the first one. You can't really blame him for that, though he did clearly come off his line before denying Cooper. Twice. Cooper and Jewsbury, meanwhile, get into a little bit when Jewsbury calls off Cooper from the third PK attempt. Cooper was pretty heated.
70th minute—For Portland, Ryan Pore enters for Cooper, who is undoubtedly frustrated after he's had two goals disallowed on offside calls and then can't convert on two straight PKs. Following the goal, Portland's made a pair of great stops deep in their own end. Alhassan cleared one and Hall cleared another after three DC shots. An absolutely wild last five minutes.
74th minute—Another PK upcoming, but this one for DC. Chará went for a tackle from behind on Pontius and the ref blows his whistle after Chará hands it.
75th minute—DC GOAL Pontius pounds it into the back of the net. No need for three chances there. United lead 2-1.
78th minute—Portland earns another corner, but Jewsbury's service is headed out. Those kind of chances are sure to be tough to find in the final minutes here.
80th minute—A long ball played into the box, but Perlaza can't get to it. We're nearing desperation time for Portland here.
82nd minute—Hamid with a bit of a mental error to give Portland another corner. Jewsbury's ball is low and long and makes it way through the pack.
83rd minute—Another sellout. Announced attendance of 18,627. They've seen a wild second half, that's for sure.
84th minute—Moffat in for Chará.
85th minute—DC GOAL Wolff makes a nice run and chips it over a pressing Perkins to make it 3-1 DC. Brettschneider gets the assist. That should do it.
87th minute—Fred enters! Fred! He comes in for Najar. Fred!
88th minute—TIMBERS GOAL Perlaza scores it inside the right post off a Hall throw-in. DC leads 3-2, but things just got a bit more interesting. Hall with the assist.
90th minute—Three minutes of stoppage.
Stoppage—Perlaza fires one from right in front and it goes just wide of the right post. Hamid didn't get a finger on it, though Portland was hoping for another corner.
Moffat with a bad turnover and DC has a 2-on-1, but they pull back a bit and try to bleed clock rather than go after Perkins.
Alhassan fires one from 30 yards out, but it's high over the goal.
Full Time—DC wins 3-2. What a game. United are first team to defeat Portland at Jeld-Wen Field. Timbers look absolutely distraught, with Alhassan laying on his back at midfield. Now he has his jersey over his face. A tough loss for Portland, which came late to the party and despite getting eight corner kicks to DC's one, couldn't convert. Union are egging the fans on a bit, and deservedly so: They're the first MLS team other than Portland to win at the House of Pane.
Timbers Army still chanting, some 10 minutes after the final whistle. They're really showing their team some much-needed love after the fans are sent home from JW-F for the first time this season with an MLS loss. Pretty impressive: The volume in the stadium sounds more like pre-game, and is perhaps the loudest post-match display of the season, including the five MLS wins.
Back from the locker room, and much of the talk was about Cooper and Jewsbury's altercation prior to the third PK attempt that earned KFC the hook. Cooper said he was "very sorry" and "embarrassed" by his actions, and noted, "I should've shown more respect to my captain and my coach."
While all the cameras and recorders were trained on Cooper in front of his locker, Jewsbury broke up the tension a bit, saying "Yeah, we still love each other," and "it's over. It's done." He noted Cooper had already apologized to him "10 times," and the issue appears squashed. I recorded an interview with Jewsbury, which I'll have in my re-cap tomorrow, but my initial thoughts are this loss and the bit of drama that went along with it are that it can spur Portland into two directions: It can cause a rift, or it can galvanize the team to grow even tighter as a unit. They'll need to do the latter should they hope to do something they haven't done all season next weekend; win on the road.
Here's the full video of Spencer's post-match presser.
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