Facing a cross country trip back home to Washington, D.C., with three games in nine days, D.C. United manager Ben Olsen took the opportunity to send out a side with several big changes on Wednesday night in their game in Cascadia against the Portland Timbers. With all the changes, United couldn't muster much of a challenge, falling 1-0 to the Timbers.
Luke Mishu was handed a start in midfield for his first ever MLS appearance, and started alongside Markus Halsti, Jared Jeffrey, and Miguel Aguilar. But after United fell behind to Urruti's second goal of the season, the Black-and-Red failed to mount much of a challenge to get an equalizer, and lost for the second time in three games.
With Fabian Espindola, Nick DeLeon, and Luis Silva out injured, Olsen had already sent Chris Rolfe and Davy Arnaud home from the New England Revolution tie on Saturday. On Wednesday, Olsen kept Chris Pontius and Sean Franklin out of the match day squad, leaving United with just 16 players dressed. Perry Kitchen and Bobby Boswell headlined the bench.
Olsen's changed charges had a rough go of most of the first half cemented by Urruti's goal in the 5th minute. Portland's pressure forced a turnover deep in DC's half from Taylor Kemp, allowing Gaston Fernandez to take a positive touch towards the box. Fernandez then sent a ball through the box to the far post, where Urruti was on the spot to smash home for the early 1-0 lead.
Bill Hamid was quickly off his line five minutes later to cut out another chance for the Timbers. A long ball over United's backline found Urruti, who had a full head of steam towards goal. But Hamid was quick off his line, and slide the ball away outside of his box, allowing the Black-and-Red to clear the danger.
Dairon Asprilla and Urruti had a set of chances in the next couple of minutes, as Portland continued to probe for another goal. Both coming down the right flank, Asprilla sent the ball through the box without anyone connecting, but Urruti saw his shot blocked out by Kemp.
Norberto Paparatto then had an opportunity from Will Johnson's free kick, but the center back's header was over the target.
United's first chance came in the 31st minute, and should have ended in a goal. Aguilar worked down the left, and won United a corner kick. Halsti sent the ball to the back post, finding a wide open Steve Birnbaum. The former first round draft pick rose up to win the header, but sent the effort agonizingly wide with the goal gaping.
Urruti and Portland came close to a second goal in the 35th minute, only to be stymied by Hamid. After a spell of possession, a Timbers' cross was deflected towards the top of the box. Urruti collected, before quickly firing a shot at goal, forcing Hamid to tip over for a corner.
After being on the back foot for most of the half, United did finish with a small flurry at the end of the first half, as they looked for an equalizer. Jairo Arrieta had a shot blocked out by Liam Ridgewell after Jeffrey won the ball for United in a dangerous spot.
Conor Doyle fired over from the top of the box in a tight spot in first half stoppage, after Arrieta and Jeffrey had long range efforts blocked out.
The second half started as well for United as the first half ended, though no genuine chances came about from United's spell. An early chance for Birnbaum came from a turnover that he forced, but his resulting shot went straight into the arms of Adam Kwarasey.
Arrieta won a free kick just outside the box in the 58th minute, but sent his shot straight into the wall. A quick throw in from United eventually found Jeffrey at the top of the box, but his 25 yard effort sailed over.
The pendulum then swung back in favor of the Timbers, as they carved out a set of chances that seemed destined to put the game away. Darlington Nagbe played a ball for Asprilla in behind Kemp on the right, but after Kemp missed on the tackle, Hamid quickly closed down the angle, and made the save on Asprilla's shot.
Former D.C. United man Rodney Wallace then nearly doubled the lead. Urruti's neat back heel to Nagbe released the midfielder towards goal, and then he quickly fed the ball out wide to Wallace. Wallace's shot had the pace to cause trouble, but Hamid was able to push away.
Asprilla was again denied by Hamid a minute later. Among some traffic in the box, Asprilla controlled a ball before releasing a shot towards goal, that Hamid was able to keep out with a kick save.
Alvas Powell came closest in the final ten minutes for a goal for either side. Powell rose up to win a header on Johnson's corner in the 81st minute. Wallace was in front of Hamid, trying to redirect the header. Hamid had to wait, but after the ball bounced by Wallace, Hamid was able to make the save, denying the Timbers the insurance goal.
With options on the bench limited, Olsen brought on Bobby Boswell late for Aguilar to play up top, to win any headers that might come his way. But United failed to really challenge from there, and after four minutes of stoppage time, United were condemned to another 1-0 loss on the road.
United return home to begin a three game home stand, starting with Saturday's tilt against the Philadelphia Union.