PORTLAND, Ore. — It was shaping up to be quite the night for Portland Timbers defender Kevin Goldthwaite.
He had scored the go-ahead goal Sunday against the first-place New York Red Bulls — his former team, which cut him last season — and his new club was about to come away with its first victory since May 21 to the delight of a delirious crowd at JELD-Wen Field. To top it off, Portland’s three goals against New York broke their confidence-depleting two-game scoreless streak.
“Going against your former team, you always want to play and put on a good performance,” said Goldthwaite, who finished last season with the second-division Timbers after New York let him go.
But this Cinderella story wasn’t meant to be.
In the final minute of extra time at the end of the match, with Portland clinging to a 3-2 lead, Timbers defender Rodney Wallace was called for a handball in the box that led to a game-tying penalty kick goal by Dwayne De Rosario and a 3-3 draw.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
The goal culminated a frenzied second half, during which Portland scored three goals to overcome a 1-0 deficit but then squandered it away in the game’s final 23 minutes.
It’s a welcomed result for Portland, however, which had lost three in a row, against a team head coach John Spencer called the best in the league. But that was little consolation for Goldthwaite and his teammates, who got a glimpse in the second half of what they believe their team is capable of.
Goldthwaite said it was nothing short of “bittersweet.”
“You look at your performance and say you got a goal, but then you also gave up a goal,” he said. “Right now my feelings are a little mixed. One point is one point. It should have been three, and that’s where we’re at right now.”
His goal came just two minutes after midfielder Jack Jewsbury tied the game in the 47th minute in a stretch that could have been a defining point in the season. Goldthwaite redirected a pass from Eric Brunner into the back of the net, catching New York goalkeeper Greg Sutton off guard.
The offense-starved Timbers more than welcomed the scoring spurt.
“In a situation like this you have to take the positives and translate it into next week,” Goldthwaite said.
Spencer watched the game from the press box while serving a one-game suspension. In the postgame press conference, he said it was a lethargic effort in the first half, something that had plagued his team in the previous three games.
“I thought the team came out charged,” Spencer said. “When [Jewsbury] smashed that one in the back of the net, the roof came off the place.”
He said that despite the disappointment of letting a victory slip away, there were a lot of positives to be taken from the second-half performance.
“Talking to the players in the locker room, the players are distraught,” he said. “And that shows how far we’ve come as an expansion team.”