Bill Hamid made sure DC united had a chance. Fielding a starting eleven of mostly reserves United grew in confidence as the match went on, received a stellar effort in goal and two spectacular saves from Hamid, but failed to break through in a 1-0 loss to the Timbers Wednesday in Portland.
The Timbers started the night at the bottom of the Western Conference and as expected tried to set the tone early and did with a goal form Maximiliano Urruti in the 5th minute. Pressure from Gaston Fernandez forced United defender Taylor Kemp into a turnover and then Fernandez streaking into the box found Urruti for the easy tap-in.
United weathered an early storm from the Timbers and crafted a strong finish to the first half. Starting forwards Conor Doyle and Jairo Arrieta started to link up more before the break and Steve Birnbaum had a clear chance on a corner. Despite the surge United failed to get a shot on target.
United had a bright start to the second half and there was a sense the Black and Red would find the equalizer. Newcomer Facundo Coria came on as a substitute for the second straight game and helped United continue to force the issue. Despite United’s effort Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasay did not have to make a save.
- Halsti and Coria will make a difference. Markus Halsti has now made two appearances in midfield for United and he has demonstrated an ability to maintain possessions and ignite attacks. Under pressure Halsti does not get rattled and he played a big role in helping United establish its presence in the game after chasing the Timbers early in the match. Like Halsti, Coria has only made two appearances, but it is clear he has the skill and invention to help United going forward.
- Need to put it all together. In addition to Halsti and Coria, Miguel Aguilar threatened on the left flank and in his second start of the season showed some of the attacking qualities that earned him a first round selection by United in the SuperDraft. Fellow rookie Luke Mishu did not shy away from his first MLS appearance and was solid in his 72 minutes. United has depth it needs with several players dealing with injuries, but needs to be better. In three games United has scored just one goal and in short has to be better in the final third.