Preview: United host Timbers in do-or-die Wednesday tilt
D.C. UNITED vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
October 19, 2011
8 p.m. ET (CSN-MA; ROOT-NW, watch LIVE online)
For D.C. United and the Portland Timbers, the mathematics are simple for Wednesday’s night game at RFK Stadium, rescheduled from Aug. 28 because of Hurricane Irene. After their stunning defeat Saturday, United must win their final two games of the year – any dropped points and they will be eliminated from playoff contention. The Timbers have more wiggle room and can lose on Wednesday and remain alive, but will still need help from Philadelphia on Thursday night.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero. MLS Career: 125 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 29; pens: 41
- D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Branko Boskovic (L ACL tear); MF Chris Pontius (R tibia fracture); DF Jed Zayner (L knee sprain); PROBABLE: DF Dejan Jakovic (R hamstring strain)
- PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: GK Adin Brown (concussion); DF Kevin Goldthwaite (L knee ACL rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); MF Darlington Nagbe (R knee); FW Spencer Thompson (R knee); MF Sal Zizzo (L knee strain); PROBABLE: DF David Horst (L groin strain); GK Troy Perkins (R hip soreness); FW Jorge Perlaza (lower back soreness)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: DC: Marc Burch … POR: Mike Chabala, Diego Chara, James Marcelin, Rodney Wallace
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Austin da Luz, Charlie Davies, Dwayne De Rosario, Perry Kitchen, Ethan White … POR: Kalif Alhassan, Jack Jewsbury
- ALL-TIME: United 1 win, 3 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 0
- In the first meeting between the teams, United pulled out a wild 3-2 win, May 29 at Jeld-Wen Field. Chris Pontius and Josh Wolff gave United a late 3-1 lead before Jorge Perlaza pulled a goal back.
- Coaches' records: John Spencer vs. DC: P1 W0 L1 T0 … Ben Olsen v POR: P1 W1 L0 T0
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- 5/29: POR 2, DC 3 (Jewsbury 68; Perlaza 88 – Kitchen 13; Pontius 75; Wolff 85)
- United took the 13th minute when rookie Perry Kitchen slotted home a ball off the head of fellow first-year man Blake Brettschneider.
- The Timbers pulled even at the three-quarter mark in a bizarre sequence. After United's Dejan Jakovic pulled down forward Kenny Cooper in the penalty box, Cooper stepped up to take the spot kick, but he twice saw efforts saved by D.C. United ‘keeper Bill Hamid. Hamid was called by the assistant referee for leaving his line early each time. On the third try, Cooper moved aside for Jack Jewsbury, who slotted in the equalizer.
- But in the 75th minute, United won a penalty of his own, as Diego Chara was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area, and Chris Pontius beat Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins from the spot. United then made 3-1 10 minutes later as Josh Wolff collected a Brettschneider flick-on from a goal kick and slotted home past Perkins.
- The Timbers pulled a goal back in the 88th minute when Jorge Perlaza headed home a long throw from Jeremy Hall from the left corner, but it was not enough.
- D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid – Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard – Andy Najar (Fred 87), Clyde Simms, Stephen King, Chris Pontius – Blake Brettschneider, Joseph Ngwenya (Josh Wolff 51 / Brandon Barklage 92+).
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins, Jeremy Hall, Mamadou Danso, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace - Diego Chara (Adam Moffat 84) - Sal Zizzo, Kalif Alhassan, Jack Jewsbury - Kenny Cooper (Ryan Pore 69), Jorge Perlaza.
D.C. United suffered a fourth consecutive defeat in the cruelest of fashions, conceding two goals in stoppage time in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United have 38 points from 32 games on the year, sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
- United looked to be home and dry just before the final minute when Gonzalo Segares was adjudged to have brought down Santino Quaranta on the right side of the box. Dwayne De Rosario converted from the spot to give D.C. the lead in the 90th minute.
- But three minutes into stoppage time, Sebastián Grazzini brought the Fire level, collecting a bouncing ball in the restraining arc and hitting a spectacular bending ball inside the left post.
- Then two minutes later, Segares beat the offside trap and pulled back the ball from on the byeline on the left, finding Diego Chaves at the back post where he tapped home the game-winner.
- United coach Ben Olsen made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Clyde Simms came back into the team in place of Marc Burch, and Dwayne De Rosario started up top in place of Blake Brettschneider.
- D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Brandon McDonald, Perry Kitchen, Daniel Woolard – Clyde Simms - Andy Najar, Stephen King (Marc Burch 75), Austin da Luz (Santino Quaranta 57) - Dwayne De Rosario, Josh Wolff (Charlie Davies 79).
- For D.C. United to claim the final available spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs, they must defeat both the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City (Saturday), and have the New York Red Bulls fail to win against Philadelphia on Thursday.
- “The crazy thing about this [playoff race] is that we are still not out of it. There’s still a scenario or two in which we can get into the playoffs,” said United head coach Ben Olsen. “So, we’ll move on. It’s just a tough [loss] – I’m not going to sugarcoat it.”
- United have now lost four games in a row, the last three by 2-1 scorelines, after their dramatic defeat by Chicago.
- “I’m getting more gray hair that I can imagine right now,” said Dwayne De Rosario. “It’s frustrating because you want to see that commitment, you want to see that passion and desire to win every ball – to do whatever it takes to stop a shot or block a ball to stop a play – but that isn’t the case and I don’t see that right now.”
- United are one of just four teams (along with San Jose, Chivas USA and New England) with a record at .500 or below at home; United are now 4-4-7 at RFK Stadium following the loss to Chicago.
- “It’s not good when you don’t have your destiny in your own hands, and we’re looking for other teams to lose and win,” said Santino Quaranta. “This was a great opportunity for us (Saturday), but we’ll battle on and continue to fight.”
- When United allowed both goals in stoppage time, it was the fifth time in MLS history a team had scored the game-tying and winning goals in second-half stoppage time – and it was the third time either D.C. or Chicago had been involved. United was on the winning end in a 3-2 win against the Fire, April 8, 2000, and also in a 4-2 win against New England on July 27, 2003.
- The first time a team scored the tying and winning goals in stoppage time also involved D.C. United and Chicago – April 8, 2000. The winning goalscorer that day? Current United head coach Ben Olsen.
- “I’ve never been a part of anything like it – the ups and downs of this game. It’s all kind of a blur, it happened so fast,” said Quaranta. “To walk back in the locker room with no points when you have victory in your grasp, it’s demoralizing. There’s not a whole lot more I can say.”
- De Rosario started in attack for United, and scored his 15th goal of the campaign, tied for the lead in the Budweiser MLS Golden Boot with San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, who also scored his 15th over the weekend. The first tiebreaker is assists; De Rosario has 12, Wondolowski three.
- “I think putting [De Rosario] up top was the right move. I thought they put a lot of numbers in the midfield – it’s a lot of work in there. That’s why we put some of the guys in early, to deal with that,” Olsen said. “We had to push the game and I thought we put the right guys in to get the game changed. I think everything worked out, except the last couple of minutes.”
- Charlie Davies came into the game as a substitute for the final quarter-hour. His last start came Sept. 10, when he scored a hat trick at Chivas USA.
- "I'm physically fine," said Davies. "I can only do so much with the time that I have. I'm a guy that expects to play 90 minutes. I'm fit. I'm healthy, and it's disappointing when you want to get the playing time to help the team win, and you only get 20, 15 minutes. I've done all I can do."
The Portland Timbers went down to a difficult defeat, a 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo on Friday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers have 40 points from 32 games, in sixth place in the Western Conference.
- The Dynamo took the lead in the 36th minute. Winning a free kick outside the left corner of the penalty area, Brad Davis swung in his service toward the near post and defender Andre Hainault met it with a glancing header, nodding it past Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
- Houston doubled their lead in the 59th minute in spectacular fashion when Danny Cruz drove a left-footed blast from 30 yards out into the top corner of the goal.
- Timbers coach John Spencer made two changes to the team that took a 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Jack Jewsbury came into the midfield for James Marcelin, and Kalif Alhassan came into the side in place of Jorge Perlaza.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, Mamadou Danso, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala (David Horst 66) - Sal Zizzo (Jorge Perlaza 46), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan - Kenny Cooper (Bright Dike 74), Darlington Nagbe.
- A loss will not eliminate the Timbers from MLS Cup Playoffs contention, unless the New York Red Bulls win on Thursday night at home vs. Philadelphia. Even two wins will not secure a postseason berth – if New York and Portland finish level with 46 points, the Red Bulls will advance as a result of their head-to-head matchups.
- “I'm still telling them, we're going to try to get maximum points in the next two games whether we're 20 points out of the playoff race or not,” said Timbers head coach John Spencer. “We'll not be changing our philosophy. For us, we're going to try and look to get as many points this year as possible.”
- If the Timbers take four points from their final two games, they must have the Red Bulls lose if they are going to reach the postseason.
- “I think for the last month people have been telling us every game we've been playing is a must-win. When those have come up, we've done well,” said midfielder Jack Jewsbury. “I thought the effort was there, but for whatever reason we didn't play our best soccer. Sometimes we're going to do that and in the beginning of the year we still got the result and that's not what happened (against Houston).”
- The Timbers are looking to become the fourth expansion team (created from an expansion draft) to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs, joining the Chicago Fire and Miami Fusion in 1998, and Seattle Sounders FC in 2009.
- “How many games have we said that was a must-win? You guys have been saying a 'must-win' since August,” said defender Mike Chabala. “It's just the way it is. Every game we want to win. Every game, I think, this city and the organization and the players want to win. Some days you're going to play your best, some days you're not, and I think, collectively, we can all raise our hands and say this wasn't our best game.”
- The loss snapped a six-game home unbeaten streak for the Timbers, who were 4-0-2 at Jeld-Wen Field since the All-Star break.
- “I think we never came out and started with the zest and the enthusiasm and the mobility that I expected us to, which was a little bit disappointing,” said Spencer. “… I still don't think we're playing to the best of our ability.”
- Midfielder Sal Zizzo was forced off at halftime after suffering an injury to his left knee, and Spencer said he is not expected to be available for the two games this week.