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Portland Playoff Hopes Stay Alive With 1-1 Draw

The difference between MLS and most other major American sports leagues is that two teams with losing records can play a low scoring game in the rain and have it be one of the most exciting games of the year. Actually, it may have just been one of the most exciting 20 minutes of the season, as Portland kept their playoff hopes alive (and extinguishes DC United’s) with a 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium last night.

Portland took the lead in the 24th minute on a header by Kenny Cooper, who got free of Brandon McDonald in front of the net to redirect a cross from former DCU fullback Rodney Wallace. Portland dominated the early run of play and looked like the team fighting for a playoff spot, controlling the midfield and pressuring a DCU defense starting two rookies.  DC head coach Ben Olsen went all-in with his lineup by starting Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff in front of Dwayne De Rosario, Andy Najar, and Santino Quaranta.  Despite the offensive firepower, it was Portland who controlled the flow and limited DC’s chances in the first half.

A tired DC and comfortable Portland began the second half stuck in the midfield, but it was Dwayne De Rosario that snapped the home side out of its funk in the 73rd minute. His curling top shelf goal energized the crowd and led to a frenzied final twenty minutes. Before the final whistle blew, fans saw the following:

  • Bill Hamid make two incredible saves on Timber break aways that easily should have put the game away for Portland.
  • A shot by Brian Umony that got past Hamid but hit the top bar and bounced just in front of the DC goal line.
  • A disallowed goal by DC sub Blake Brettschneider late in the match that looked to be the game winner, occurring after Troy Perkins had gone too far outside his goal but earning an offsides flag.
  • Joseph Ngwenya continuing his miserable season by missing a six footer with a reaction save by Perkins, followed immediately by another reaction save off Brettschneider’s follow-up.

When the final whistle blew, the score remained deadlocked and Portland lived to fight another day. The Timbers, if New York loses tonight, need to win this weekend at RSL to secure a playoff spot. DC, however, was eliminated with the draw and will now sit home a club record fourth consecutive playoffs.

All eyes now turn to New York where the Red Bulls tonight have a chance to clinch the final playoff spot.  Keep checking the site for more analysis and commentary on the race for the MLS playoffs.

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  1. Robert

    October 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Well, looks like 8 teams have been eliminated and 8 teams have
    nothing to play for on the final match day. Funny to see RBNY
    chasing the final playoff spot with an empty stadium. pathetic.

  2. Chris Riordan

    October 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    We should add another podcast to the site … featuring Charles and
    Robert … now THAT would be entertaining!

    • Robert

      October 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      I like that idea. Charles you in?

    • Charles

      October 21, 2011 at 9:20 am

      They should have some regulars on, that would be fun and
      funny……………………………… The problem you could,
      actually would get into is too much discussion on pro/rel, MLS
      failing and the other causes of the trolls that will never
      happen…………………………….. I say would because it
      not like any of them could actually discuss George Johns great
      play, or why Brad Davis is the must underrated player in
      MLS……………cool idea, but I would rather the community gets
      the MLS All Stars versus the Mexican All Stars. Greatest single
      idea on this site, ever.

  3. The original Tom

    October 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    One thing I’m coming around to is this 10 team play-off with the
    Wild Card round. I’m holding final judgement until we watch them
    and the first (or second) round. What I still hate is the
    bracketing by conference; LA, Seattle, and RSL should not be lumped
    together and an LA – Seattle final should be a possibility. I’m
    still going to enjoy it though. My focus for the last few weeks has
    been will the Rapids earn a home wild card game, that is still

    • Charles

      October 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      Not me, 8 teams is enough. Bring on the playoffs ! DeRo IS a beast.
      He was great in Seattle and the whole team looked dangerous with
      him and Najar. How lucky are we to be able to watch that in person
      ? Are there more than 20k fans rooting for NY tonight ? No. GO
      Ex-Sounder LETOUX !!!!!

  4. Chris Riordan

    October 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

    One more thing … De Ro had that performance last night, creating
    so many opportunities, while essentially playing with one leg. His
    ankle has been abused over the last couple of weeks and he’s still
    a beast!

  5. Chris Riordan

    October 20, 2011 at 11:42 am

    The game was pretty damn boring if you ask me … until the last 15
    minutes … which more than made up for the relatively (okay,
    Cooper did score) uneventful first 75. For everybody who soccer is
    boring because of low scoring affairs need to check themselves …
    that was high drama at it’s best!

  6. Scott

    October 20, 2011 at 11:14 am

    What a great finish although i nearly had a stroke in the final 10
    minutes. Both teams had their chances to win the game and couldnt
    finish. Very entertaining nonetheless. Well i guess I’m a Union fan
    for tonight.

  7. Charles

    October 20, 2011 at 9:42 am

    All of you that don’t like playoffs go to the library or something
    your MLS season was over two weeks ago when the Sounders lost a
    mediocre game, you might have missed the official
    end…………………….For the rest of us, the most exciting
    part of the season was kicked off last night. Unbelievable how
    close the dreams of two teams were to staying alive/completely
    dead. Wow. Got my playoffs tickets, can’t wait for the Sounders to
    start chasing the dream…………………………..One thing
    for sure, it will be very exciting.

    • Robert

      October 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      Charles, Wasn’t the season over for 5 franchises like 3-4 weeks
      ago? Almost 30% of the league has nothing to play for in the final
      week. What an awesome league!

      • Charles

        October 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

        2-6-5 You know what I am talking about.

        • Robert

          October 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm

          $40 million expansion fee playing in NFL stadium. You know what I’m
          talking about

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