MLS- Portland Timbers

Dike equalizer earns Timbers a point, cancels out controversial D.C. penalty

BrightDikeDC (getty)


D.C. United took a step closer to the Eastern Conference playoffs, while the Portland Timbers were left walking off the field in another game they felt robbed by match officials.

Timbers striker Bright Dike pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area to slot home a 79th-minute equalizer to help cancel out a Chris Pontius penalty and help Portland salvage a 1-1 draw against D.C. United at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday night.

D.C. United's penalty came courtesy of a handball call on Timbers defender David Horst in the penalty area. Perry Kitchen swung in a cross from the right flank that appeared to catch Horst's body as he jumped up to try and block it, but the match officials ruled that the cross hit his raised arm. Replays showed that the ball hit the side of his body and not his arm.

Pontius slotted home the penalty for his 12th goal of the season, which helped D.C. United avoid being shut out on a night when they offered very little in the way of an attacking threat. D.C. manage just two shots on goal on a night when the Timbers held the edge in shots on goal, possession and passes completed.

Dike was a handful for D.C. United all night and his hard work was rewarded late in the match when he pounced on a failed clearance attempt by Andy Najar and beat Bill Hamid with a near-post blast, roofing a shot from close range to help Portland earn a point.

The tie dropped D.C. United two points behind the New York Red Bulls, but keeps them two points ahead of the Houston Dynamo for fourth place in the East.

Here are the match highlights:

What did you think of the match? Think the penalty call was correct, or did the refs miss another one badly? Impressed with Dike's effort? See D.C. United holding on to their playoff spot?

Share your thoughts below.


  • sagcat

    I agree with all your points, Ives. I think one under-commented item from the game is Pontius’ goal celebration holding a finger to his lips to indicate he had “silenced” the crowd, while the furious Timbers supporters were simultaneously raising the volume yet another 30 db’s. One of the sillier celebrations I’ve ever seen. Maybe he’s used to some other fans sulking after the road team gets a goal.

    Welcome to Portland.


  • Jphubba

    DCU remains on schedule to play just well enough to miss the playoffs on the last day of the season.


  • Tyler K

    Uh athletes do that all the time… He was telling them to be quiet, not trying to indicate that he had silenced them. Regardless, it’s not like you guys much to yell and scream about this season



    Oh, we have had plenty to yell and scream about, sadly most has been negative (poor GM player selection decisions, poor coaching decisions, poor interim coach decisions, poor referee decisions and even poorer play).

    Beating Seattle and Vancouver was the highlight by far, one more win or draw in 2 chances and the Cascadia cup comes back to Portland. Sadly that is the only positive left at this point.


  • curmudgeon

    Probably, given how much God hates me anymore.

    I was set to be furious at the officials in Columbus, who gifted the Crew with a winner against Philly from a forward who was a yard and a half offside. ‘If we miss the playoffs by a point or two to Columbus, I’m gonna hunt that AR down,” I thought. Then we got that utterly absurd penalty call in our favor an hour later, and I thought ‘uh, never mind.’


  • Jake

    DC fan here. I agree that the call was bad. Just don’t throw your arms up and you won’t get it called. Props to Portland for playing a good game overall and to the Portland fans for being awesome!



    Agree with you about throwing arms up … but still. I really think USSF and FIFA need to do a better job of defining a hand ball. Judging intent is the entire issue. If that ball hits Horst square in the arm then you’d get no argument from anyone. Yet he jumped and his arm was up before the ball was even kicked and certainly he wasn’t trying to have the ball maybe skim off the shirt in his armpit.

    Not arguing with you at all though. Sadly, earlier this season Horst got called for a handball with his arms at his sides protecting himself from a shot straight out front. Timbers had another PK called against when Smith, losing his balance and falling down put his arms out reflexively and a shot was fired off his feet and bounced up under his arm during this fall. Certainly both of those were incidental ball to hand … and at this point we have had so many ridiculous calls go against us that nobody is quite sure what constitutes a hand ball. I truly doubt had Dike missed last night the much more obvious hand ball on Najar just a second before would have been called.

    I think FIFA needs to make a decision. Either call every single time the ball hits someone in the hand (in which case the game would get ugly at times with guys intentionally just pinging balls off defenders in the box looking for a lucky strike), or REALLY play it is clear intent (not just that the ball happened to brush off a shoulder or armpit or heck even a hand). The fact is that 99.99999% of soccer players have 2 hands and arms and it is simply impossible to run, jump, fall, kick, defend … play soccer with them completely hidden behind your back at all times.

    I am still not convinced the ball did any more than brush Horst’s side and even then barely (it still had the same spin on it even after it cleared him). Personally I think the Ref fell for the DC player appealing for a call. That has been the entire Timbers season though. While we are not that great of a team, very few breaks have gone our way and legitimately we have seen about 7-10 instances of our players being taken down in the box or a much more obvious handball than most that have been called against us this year (OK, Chara’s in Salt Lake was clearly intentional and blocked an easy goal playing back post on a corner – no question was a RC and a PK). It is just amazing that we haven’t attempted a PK all year.

    Jokingly, I heard a Timbers fan say the other day that they are convinced a defender could pull out a machete and hack a leg off Dike or Boyd in the box and the ref would raise both arms signaling play on … yet we get those kind of “well it maybe touched his shirt in the armpit” kind of calls against us. Just hoping we are saving up good karma for next year because this entire season has been just a disaster.



    And wow, I was just typing for about 2 mintues and total diarrhea of the keyboard. Sorry about that.


  • Skeeter

    “one more win or draw in 2 chances and the Cascadia cup comes back to Portland. Sadly that is the only positive left at this point.”

    Get ready for disappointment


  • Knuckles

    That’s really the key, isn’t it? If Horst had simply kept his arms down, it wouldn’t have been an issue.


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