By the Numbers
Number of Portland Timbers players who have scored at least four goals in 2013
The MLS' next best team in number of players with at least four goals
Prior to Saturday's match, the Timbers' largest road win goal differential in the MLS era
Difference between the Timbers' 2012 road goal differential and this year's
Moment of the Match
With Diego Valeri out of the lineup, Caleb Porter had to switch up the formation and tactics a bit. Porter went with with a 4-4-2, set aside the usual possession game, and took a more direct approach.
D.C. United was just the right kind of awful in response.
The DC back line spent all 90 minutes jostling, tugging, pulling and yanking Piquionne, RJ, and Valencia, but in doing so they abandoned a huge swath of space in the midfield and gave Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace and Will Johnson all the time and space they needed to set up their shots.
Indeed, the team's strikers -- Frederic Piquionne, Ryan Johnson, and Jose Adolfo Valencia -- combined for just two shots. By contrast, the Timbers' midfield combined for eight shots, four on target.
There were plenty of moments highlighting this point, but let's go with Nagbe's shot from distance in the first half as our moment of the match. From the Timbers' defensive half, Pa Modou Kah played the ball into the center circle to Nagbe, who found acres of space ahead of himself. He dribbled the ball forward to about 25 yards from the goal and let loose a powerful shot that had to be parried over the frame.
The shot was made possible by the DC defense, obsessed as they were with Piquionne and RJ, who were driving them deep early in the play, creating a chasm of space between their midfield and defensive lines. Those two strikers were somehow able to draw all four defenders away from Nagbe and the ball, opening up the space he needed.
It happened again and again, including in the run-up to Wallace's goal just a few minutes later. It was a simple play, really -- Jack Jewsbury threw the ball in to Piquionne, who once again drew four DC players towards him as he glided into the center outside the penalty area. He then passed outside to Wallace, who, just like Nagbe before him, had all day to get the ball on his preferred foot and fire a rocket to the near post.
The Timbers won't be able to win like this again.
Injuries and Bookings
Diego Valeri's hamstring injury took a lot of Portland fans by surprise, although it was foreshadowed early in the week -- Will Conwell reported on Tuesday that he had picked up a tight hamstring in Vancouver.
Meanwhile, Pah Modou Kah and Jose Adolfo Valencia both opened their 2013 yellow card accounts, and still the Timbers are no closer to a card accumulation suspension than they were last week.
Around the League
The Colorado injury curse is now well into its third year, and this time it was Argentine playmaker Martin Rivero going down with a foot injury. Fortunately for the Rapids, they were playing Chivas USA at the time and so still won the match.
If your plan is to bunker for an entire half against the Quakes, you'd better have a fantastic keeper. As such, Dallas' win belonged to Raul Fernandez, who made six saves, several from point-blank range, to extend Dallas' home unbeaten streak to eight matches.
The Fire traveled to Utah with every intention to play for a draw, conceding the lion's share of possession and relying on repeated heroics from Sean Johnson, who made eight saves. After RSL went ahead in the 78th, Quincy Amarikwa volleyed a goal of the week contender to equalize in the 84th.