PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Bright Dike scored in the 79th minute to lift the Portland Timbers to a 1-1 draw with D.C. United on Saturday night. The Timbers (7-15-9), eighth in the Western Conference, avoided elimination from the postseason race. Chris Pontius scored on a penalty kick in the 60th minute to give United (15-10-6) the lead. D.C. snapped a three-game winning streak and dropped to fourth place in the Eastern Conference. United began the day tied with New York for third, but the Red Bulls beat Toronto to pull into a tie with Chicago for second. Pontius's 12th goal of the season came after a hand ball call on Timbers defender David Horst, which had several Timbers in the referee's face. Horst was given a yellow card and Timbers fans shouted boos and expletives on the officials. The officials were also booed as they left the field after the game. Timbers owner Merritt Paulson took off after the officials, appearing to yell his disapproval and a bottle thrown from the stands came close to hitting the crew. Portland outplayed United for long stretches, had 14 shots on goal and made goalkeeper Bill Hamid work hard. United had some close calls near the end of the first half. Dike had a clear shot that went wide after defender Chris Korb accidentally passed the ball to him in the 40th minute. In the 44th, Hamid had a ball bounce out of his hands and nearly cross the goal line before he snagged it. Hamid had four saves in the first half. The Timbers, winless on the road this season, are a tough to beat at Jeld-Wen Field, where they have won against top clubs such as Chicago, Sporting Kansas City and San Jose this season. Portland had had seen encouraging play in its last three matches -- a home draw with Seattle, a road draw at San Jose and a 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake last Saturday. Portland goalkeeper Joe Bendik started for the third consecutive game, as starter Donovan Ricketts remains out with a shoulder injury sustained against Seattle. United was playing on artificial turf for the first time since April at New England.
As U.S. Women’s Soccer star Heather O’Reilly steps into international retirement Thursday night, her soon-to-be former teammates are jumping at the chance to honor O’Reilly one last time.
"She’s the best teammate I ever had,” said Ali Krieger, who has played alongside O’Reilly on the USWNT since 2008. “She’s such an inspiration for so many young athletes, but also for us – her current teammates and the players in the National Women’s Soccer League. She’s been a legend.”
O’Reilly will end her 15-year international career when the U.S. Women face Thailand in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday night.
“She’s motivated me and I know my teammates to want to better themselves every single day,” Krieger said of O’Reilly’s legacy on the national team. “That is something that she can leave us. I’m so happy for her, I’m really proud of her and she continued to inspire me every single day. I wish her all the best and I’m going to miss her like crazy.”
Of all O’Reilly’s teammates, few can appreciate the retiring legend quite like Krieger. The two often featured together on the right side of the U.S. formation, Krieger in defense and O’Reilly just ahead of her in midfield, resulting in a bond that will last beyond their playing days.
“We always say ‘right side – strong side’, so we’re going to hold on to that forever,” Krieger said with a smile. “She’s one of my best friends on the team and I support her decision.”
O’Reilly’s decision was likely made easier by the changing landscape of the national team. After seeing her minutes dwindle during last summer’s successful World Cup run, the 31-year-old veteran was left off the U.S. Olympic Team in August instead traveling to Brazil as an alternate.
Despite that, O’Reilly’s career compares favorably to pretty much every other U.S. international. O'Reilly made her senior international debut while still in high school, and her 230 appearances rank seventh all-time in U.S. Women’s National Team history.
“It’s so much more than the player that she is and what she’s done for the national team,” said U.S. Women’s National Team forward Crystal Dunn. “It’s her – the person – that I’m going to miss seeing in camps and chatting it up.”
Though they didn’t overlap in Chapel Hill, both Dunn and O’Reilly played collegiately for North Carolina. Thanks to that Tar Heel connection, the duo trained together frequently even when not with the U.S. team.
“She was just one of those people that I looked up to,” Dunn added. “She would kick my butt every single day and I was so in awe that she would go out of her way to help make me better."
Two days after the Washington Spirit organization changed the timing of their pregame routine in order to preempt Megan Rapinoe’s national anthem protest, Spirit players are speaking out against the team’s decision.
"We respect our owner’s freedom to share his views and we understand his intentions,” read a statement posted on the Spirit website. “But as a team we don’t necessarily agree with those opinions or the actions taken Wednesday evening.”
The statement - signed ‘all of the players of the Washington Spirit’ - was also posted to Spirit captain, and longtime U.S. Women’s National Team star, Ali Krieger’s personal website.
“As a team, we were disappointed we were not informed of the plans for the national anthem or given an opportunity to weigh in on the decision,” the statement continued.
The Washington Spirit and Rapinoe’s Seattle Reign FC were still in the locker rooms when the national anthem was played ahead of schedule at Wednesday’s National Women’s Soccer League match between the two teams.
In an exclusive interview Tuesday afternoon, Rapinoe told CSN that she planned to kneel during the national anthem prior to Wednesday's game - as she did before Sunday's NWSL contest between Seattle and the Chicago Red Stars.