D.C. United 0-2 Portland Timbers: Recap & Highlights - Soft defense and godawful finishing doom D.C.

Ned Dishman

Well, that sucked.

Remember that more fired up D.C. United side we saw last week against Sporting Kansas City? The one that - while not quite as good at the soccer part of the game - was willing to scratch and claw to a point? Yeah, that team didn't show up this week, and the Black-and-Red saw their winless streak go to nine games as they lost a 2-0 home result to the Portland Timbers.

As has been the case so often this year, United actually out-performed the victors in several statistical areas. D.C. outshot the Timbers, sent in more than twice as many open play crosses, won 56% of the duels, and controlled the majority of possession while matching the Timbers passing accuracy. But where United's defense made two unforgivable blunders, the Timbers defense did just enough to pressure D.C.'s attackers into blowing their chances.

The opener came off a throw in. Frédéric Piquionne received Jack Jewsbury's throw from the right side in the middle of the park and found Rodney Wallace all alone on the left edge of the box. Brandon McDonald and Ethan White failed to pressure Piquionne, and Korb was pinched too far inside to recover, and the former United fullback/midfielder finished just under the crossbar to give Portland a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Portland's second was nothing short of shambolic. Ryan Johnson sent a looping ball from just inside United's half straight up the middle. Darlington Nagbe fought off United's defenders and touched his first-time shot past Hamid. Ben Olsen did not mince words in the post-game press conference, calling his defenders, and their defense, "soft." He wasn't wrong.

On the better side of things, well, the weather was nice. Anybody counting on banking karma points might be pleased by the knowledge that los Capitalinos were denied a clear penalty when a a Portland player handled the ball in the box. United also created more chances than they have in recent weeks - of course that brings us to the piss poor finishing on display tonight. Kyle Porter's early chance on a counter resulted in an easy save for Donovan Ricketts. Chris Pontius sent a shot into orbit from inside the box. Lionard Pajoy wasted his breakaway chance, sending a powerful left-footed shot over the bar when the opportunity begged for a chip or one extra touch around the onrushing Ricketts.

Which brings us back to the negative - the only place this could go, really. May has not been a fun month to be a United fan.

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