PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers' first win of 2014 was one to remember.
A stoppage-time goal by substitute Maximiliano Urruti gave the Timbers a 3-2 win over D.C. United amidst a steady downpour, bookended by the quickest goal in club history by Gastón Fernández 34 seconds into the game, in a see-saw affair at Providence Park that saw DCU erase two Portland leads.
A late equalizer off an unlucky Mamadou “Futty” Danso own goal seemed destined stretch the Timbers' winless start to the season to nine games after the Timbers center back had given Portland a 2-1 lead in the 38th minute. However, Urruti changed the script when he slammed home his own rebound deep into stoppage time.
The win is Portland’s first since they swept the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference semifinals of last year’s playoffs. Meanwhile, D.C. United’s five-game unbeaten streak comes to an end.
Portland’s quick opening salvo started when Darlington Nagbe stripped Cristian on the right wing, played past a defender ahead to Diego Valeri, who one-timed a perfectly placed cross to Fernández.
The Argentine chipped it into the air and skirted around D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who came flying off his line, before chipping it over the line with his back to the goal.
After some more Portland pressure, D.C. found an equalizer in stunning fashion when Davy Arnaud teed up a long shot in the 33rd minute. It took an initial deflection of Diego Chará before sailing into the top right corner.
Portland got their second goal off a 38th-minute corner beautifully placed to Danso in front of goal. The big Gambian defender coolly one-timed it past Hamid for his first regular season goal since the Timbers' inaugural MLS season in 2011.
There was some controversy in the second half as D.C. United pushed for the equalizer and Danso was initially called for a handball in the box in the 59th minute. Head referee Ricardo Salazar initially pointed to the spot, but reversed the call after consulting with the assistant referee.
Portland nearly found an insurance goal when Fernández unlocked Nagbe in the area with a clever, chipped pass. The charging Nagbe pulled Hamid off his line, but his shot into the open goal found only side netting.
That proved critical for Portland as D.C. would eventually find the equalizer off a 77th-minute corner kick to after Danso appeared to redirect a Cristian header.
Portland desperately pushed for the winner, with Will Johnson, Fernández and Valeri all coming close, and it finally came in stoppage time when Urruti, an 83rd minute substitute, came up with his second goal of 2013.
The Timbers next play host to the LA Galaxy in a Sunday matinee, while D.C. United play at the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Diego Valeri||Portland's creative glue, and set up their first two goals|
|2||Mamadou 'Futty' Danso||The big man had an unlucky own goal, but a great finish of his own and a solid night out at the back|
|3||Bobby Boswell||The D.C. United defender made some important headers and clearances, and nearly scored when his header hit the bar in the first half|