You can be perfect 99% percent of the time, but that 1% you aren't could be enough to dismantle the other 99%. In other words, one mistake is all it takes to go from victory to defeat. On a rainy Sunday at Providence Park, it was a single mental lapse by the Timbers that would end up handing them the loss.
In the 25th minute D.C.'s Ulises Segura sent a cross into the box. Steve Clark pressed forward to clear the ball, but a sliding Bill Tuiloma got there first and unfortunately deflected the ball past Clark and into the net. It gave United the 1-0 lead, and the eventual 1-0 victory.
It really felt like Portland controlled most of the game. They had a good flow offensively, played much of the match on the D.C. side of the pitch, and had plenty of chances to score, they just couldn't find the net.
"We put 37 crosses in, and 80% of possession, but that's not enough," said head coach Gio Savarese. "It's not only enough to play very, very well. It's about scoring goals, and they did. They scored one."
Coach Savarese wasn't about to blame the game on an own goal. He gave D.C. United all the credit fo playing like a veteran team and doing the little things down the stretch to ice the game. He also chalked it up to the game itself.
"Last week, against Kansas City, we put up a hopeful cross and it went it. Today we put up a better cross and hit the crossbar. Sometimes, that's soccer."
The Timbers will have a quick turnaround and chance to bounce back when they host the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.
GETTING CLOSER TO FULL STRENGTH
The Timbers have been dealing with injuries and illnesses all season long, but they could finally take a step toward full strength by Wednesday's match. Coach Savarese said that both Brian Fernandez and Sebastian Blanco could be ready to go, though he sounded more confident in Fernandez making a return. When asked when those two would return, Savares said, "hopefully Brain (Fernandez) this Wednesday, and Blanco, maybe this Wednesday. We'll see."
VALERI IN RAREFIED AIR
Here is a fun little Timbers fact for you: With his start against D.C. United on Sunday, Diego Valeri became just the third Timbers player to start 200 games for the club in the MLS era. The other two being former teammate Darlington Nagbe (203 matches started) and current teammate Diego Chara (253 matches started).
PUSH FOR THE PLAYOFFS
The Timbers need to find a way to turn it around and grab some points in the next match. Just five games remain on the schedule and just one point separates sixth-place Portland and eighth place LA Galaxy. LA also has five games remaining, meaning Portland controls its own destiny. Win out, and there is no way you fall below the red line. Stumble like they did against D.C. United and the door remains wide open for the Timbers to fall out of the playoffs. With the playoff race so tight, losing on an own goal makes this latest loss even tougher to swallow.
The Timbers waste no time getting back on the pitch, staying at home to host the Red Bulls on Wednesday, September 18th. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.