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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Portland Soccer, May 28, 2013

It was another good road trip for the Timbers, who have now gone 11 games without a loss. The Timbers faced DC United in the capital Saturday. DC is in last place in the Eastern Conference and indeed has the worst record in the league. Saturday they didn't show many signs of ending that pattern as Portland was able to control the game for the most part and emerged with a 2-0 victory. Rodney Wallace continued his turnaround season by scoring the first goal in the 21st minute, a nice finish inside the near post after a cross from Frederic Piquionne. Darlington Nagbe added another in the second half as Ryan Johnson's pass put him alone against DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

It says something about how expectations have changed when fans were still critical of the Timbers' somewhat sloppy play despite a win on the road. The defense allowed DC to have many chances to score but they could only put two shots on target. A better team could have punished Portland for their defensive mistakes, but Portland still did all right considering the lineup they had. With Futty suspended, Pa Modou Kah made his Timbers debut and played the entire game at center back. He had a few miscues but did well, especially for not having played in about a month. Also, midfielder Diego Valeri was out with a hamstring injury and Frederic Piquionne made his first start at forward. Portland could have played better, but I think the team is aware of that and will be ready for their next game.

Wednesday night they play the Wilmington Hammerheads, a USL PRO club (the third level of US soccer), in the US Open Cup. Clubs at all levels, from amateur to professional, compete in the Open Cup and Timbers fans would love for the team to make a run at the title. Because Cup matches usually are against unfamiliar opponents in the middle of the week, they're a good chance for fans who don't have season tickets to see the Timbers in person.

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