[MLS] A high-scoring Memorial Day weekend ended with a five-goal fiesta in which D.C. United broke Portland’s perfect league mark at Jeld-Wen Field Sunday.
Rookie Perry Kitchen scored his first goal as a professional and four penalty kicks were taken as United held off a late Timbers’ charge to win, 3-2, and taint their previously unblemished 5-0 home record in league play.
Chris Pontius converted a penalty kick and Josh Wolff fired in what proved to be the winning goal for D.C., which became the first team to take the lead at Portland in league play when Kitchen polished off a clever throw-in nodded in his direction by fellow rookie Blake Brettschneider in the 13th minute.
Timbers keeper Troy Perkins saved twice late in the first half as his former team used serves from Pontius to set up chances for Joseph Ngwenya and Ethan White in the goalmouth that Perkins went down low to repel.
The 1-0 score stood until 20 minutes into the second half, when United defender Dejan Jakovic dragged down Kenny Cooper in the penalty area, whereupon ensued a surreal sequence: Cooper’s kick was saved by keeper Bill Hamid, who was judged to have moved off his line too early. On the re-kick, Hamid saved from Cooper again, only to again be punished for premature anticipation.
Having seen enough spot-kick sputtering for one game, head coach John Spencer designated captain Jack Jewsbury for the third attempt, and he slammed his attempt past Hamid. United, though, had regrouped during the PK marathon, and earned one of its own in the 75th minute when Diego Chara tackled Pontius and while sliding on the ground batted the ball with his arm. Pontius dispatched the kick past Perkins to restore a one-goal advantage.
Ten minutes later, Brettschneider’s noggin set up another goal when he nodded on Hamid’s goal kick for a speeding Wolff, just on as a sub. He glided into the penalty area to shoot low and true to the far post. Portland, the most potent team in the league on set plays, cut the deficit to a goal when Jorge Perlaza’s header from Jeremy Hall’s throw-in bounced past Hamid in the 88th minute.
In the first minute of stoppage time a partial clearance dropped for Perlaza to hit a first-time shot that skipped a foot wide of the post, and after two more minutes Portland’s storybook start to MLS play at Jeld-Wen Field had closed its memorable first chapter.