Facing a Portland Timbers team winless on the season and beginning a three game stand at home, a fast start from the hosts was crucial. And while they achieved it, D.C. United rallied to tie the game on two occasions before a Maximilliano Urruti goal in the dying moments provided the Timbers with a 3-2 win.
Things started early for the Timbers as Diego Valeri avoided separate tackles from Cristian Fernandez and Jeff Parke to put a ball on goal which Gaston Fernandez directed on net past Bill Hamid for the early lead 34 seconds in. However, in the 21st minute, Davy Arnaud had the creativity in mind to shoot from 30 yards out, deflecting off Diego Valeri and in the net. In the 38th minute, Futty Danso scored off a corner kick delivered by Diego Valeri to regain the lead which they took into halftime.
In the second half, the first 15 minutes were owned by D.C. with a substantial advantage in possession, culminating with a call for a handball on Danso in the box which Ricardo Salazar initially ruled a handball and penalty kick, but after consultation with the linesman was deemed to hit off Danso's face, to D.C.'s dismay. In the 78th minute, D.C. right back Chris Korb (playing for Sean Franklin, who along with Eddie Johnson did not travel with the team due to injury) made a run which forced a corner kick that went off Danso again, this time past Ricketts. The goal was Portland's sixth allowed in the last 15 minutes, leading the League. However, the scoreline would not hold to D.C.'s dismay, as Urruti blasted his rebound past Hamid (wearing a headband due to a first half cut while making a save on Jack Jewsbury).
The goals at the beginning and end of the match made the Timbers the first team in MLS history to score a goal in the first minute and get a stoppage time game winning marker in the same match. On the latter, Urruti's goal is the 4th D.C. has given up in the last 15 minutes this season, costing the team five standings points to date.
"We pissed that game away," Coach Ben Olsen said. "There was a lot of good in regards to this one...but today, starting the game wasn't good enough, set pieces weren't good enough for us, and the way we managed the game once again in the end was amateur...I'm not taking anything away from Caleb [Porter] and his group and this atmosphere and the way this city has gotten behind this team 'cause it's a lot of fun to play here, but I do feel like in the end we lost points today."
"We're a bit disappointed, not happy with the way we started and to go down a goal and come back and two goals and come back, we thought we played well enough to earn a point and not able to see the game out," Boswell said regarding the effort. "Credit to them for continuing to push, but we gotta learn from what we did tonight and make sure it doesn't happen again." Boswell also had praise for Korb in his first 90 minutes of the year, saying "he did well, it's kind of hard to communicate when you can't hear yourself but he I thought was in a lot of the right places and did a lot of the right things, so credit to him."
"I think we were worth at least a point tonight," Arnaud said, "To give up a goal that late after you battle back twice in a tough place to play against a good team is not easy to swallow."
The result drops D.C. to 3-3-2, who remain in fourth place in the East, and they visit Philadelphia (1-4-5) on Saturday. Portland (1-3-5) host Los Angeles (2-2-2) Sunday.