The Portland Timbers have started a new streak and are now two games without a point after tonight’s 4-1 loss to Eastern Conference side D.C. United. After a strong start to the match, the Timbers were taken apart by the home side, giving up four goals for the first time since their March 10th demolition at the hands of the New York Red Bulls.
The Timbers opened the scoring the 35th minute, notching their first goal from the run of play since facing the Houston Dynamo three weeks ago. Working the ball around the United box, the Timbers passed from Zarek Valentin to Sebastian Blanco to Andy Polo and finally to Samuel Armenteros in the heart of the box. The Timbers’ striker hit a low, first-time finish that skipped through a forest of legs before just squeezing below the dive of D.C. keeper Bill Hamid for the opening goal.
The lead would not last long, however, as the home side answered in the 43rd minute. As D.C. moved forward down the pitch en masse, Yamil Asad carried the ball down the gut of the Timbers defense before splitting them open with a through ball into the path of the wily Wayne Rooney. In behind the Timbers back line, Rooney collected the ball and fired off a low shot just in time to beat the onrushing Jeff Attinella and pull the sides even at 1-1.
The momentum stayed with the home side and early in the second half United pulled ahead. In the 47th minute, designated player Lucho Acosta got on the ball at the top of the Timbers box, holding the ball while surrounded by a quartet of Timbers defenders. Finding an opening, Acosta slipped a ball wide to full back Oniel Fisher in space and the D.C. man had time to pick out the far post with a hard shot that beat the late-arriving tackle of Zarek Valentin and the dive of Attinella.
D.C. came close again in the 66th minute when they broke forward following a long period of pressure from the Timbers. Carrying the ball forward, Paul Arriola drew the Timbers defense toward himself before slipping the ball to Rooney running off his right shoulder. Checking up on the ball, Rooney lifted his head and, seeing Attinella coming to close him down, went for the chip over the Timbers keeper. Rooney had the measure of Attinella, but not the crossbar, hitting the woodwork and missing out on yet another highlight-reel goal.
Two minutes later, Rooney’s highlight-reel goal would come. After a foul just outside the box, Rooney stepped up and hit a curling free kick around the Timbers wall and just past the outstretched fingertips of Attinella before splashing into the back of the net and extending the home side’s lead to 3-1.
Finally, it was former Timber Darren Mattocks who punished the Timbers for committing men forward in the second minute of stoppage time, getting forward on the break and scoring the fourth goal of the night for United. Breaking out of the Timbers’ pressure, D.C. found Mattocks sprinting down the pitch with only Zarek Valentin in front of him. A lowered shoulder and a burst of speed put Mattocks past the Timbers full back an in on goal where it was a straightforward matter for him to chip the ball over the side of Attinella and over the goal line.
The Timbers are on the road again on Saturday when they visit Sporting Kansas City.