D.C. UnitedDC

DC United 2, Portland Timbers 0 | 2016 MLS Match Recap

D.C. United and an oppressive heat wave over the nation's capital teamed up to drop the Portland Timbers at RFK Stadium on Saturday night, as the Black-and-Red rode early goals from Steve Birnbaum and Luciano Acosta to a 2-0 win over the defending MLS Cup champions. 

On a night when the match's kickoff was delayed an hour thanks to near-triple-digit temperatures that made for the hottest day of the year in Washington, Portland played well between the penalty boxes, but were undone by their attack's poor finishing and efficient scoring from the home side. 

Both Jake Gleeson and D.C. 'keeper Bill Hamid stayed busy to keep the score from escalating, but the overheated Cascadians had little left in the tank down the stretch. The result ends a six-game winless skid for D.C. dating back to June, while Portland remain winless on the road in 2016 league play.

Box Score

Three Things

  1. MELTING TIMBERS: At 7-8-2, Portland were one of the best road teams in MLS last year, a major ingredient in their title run. But it's been a drastically different story in 2016: They're now 0-6-6 away from Providence Park. Given the triple-digit heat index in D.C., they needed to keep things tight at the back and avoid having to chase the game. Instead, they put themselves behind the 8-ball by conceding an early set-piece goal, and never really recovered. 
  2. ACOSTA DOING BUSINESS: He's a mercurial maestro in the classic sense of both words, and it's still unclear whether he's done enough to convince United to buy him from Boca Juniors when his loan ends at the close of the season. But when Lucho Acosta is on, he's worth the price of admission with moments of skill and daring both big and small:
  3. REGRESSION OF THE MAC: Jack McInerney's strong recent form has prompted PTFC coach Caleb Porter to move to a two-striker system to get him on the field alongside Fanendo Adi. But Jack Mac flubbed a few good chances in D.C. – albeit with some help from Hamid. Given that the 4-4-2 forces other Timbers out of their comfort zones, particularly Diego Valeri, Porter likely has some cost-benefit analysis to do when it comes to formations. 

Next Up

  • DC: Sunday, Aug. 21 vs. New York Red Bulls (3pm ET; ESPN | MLS LIVE in Canada)
  • POR: Sunday, Aug. 21 vs. Seattle (9:30pm ET; FS1 | MLS LIVE in Canada)
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