Timbers Army: When they root, they root for the ... Union? You bet.
Portland eliminated DC from playoff contention and kept its own postseason chances on life support Wednesday night with a 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium, solidifying the final two scenarios for the closing chapter of the Timbers' inaugural big league season:
• If New York beats or ties Philadelphia tonight, Portland's out of the playoff hunt. For reals.
• If Philadelphia beats New York tonight, Portland stays alive and makes Saturday's game at Real Salt Lake a must-win.
The latter scenario, of course, is what Portland fans will be pulling for, and should the Union put it together against the Red Bulls (5 p.m. on ESPN2), I predict a run on PDX>SLC flight bookings tonight and a few more I-84 caravans this weekend.
But first things first: On Wednesday, the Timbers may not have shown enough to get what would've been a giant victory, but unlike Saturday's uninspiring 2-0 defeat at home to Houston, Portland at least showed a pulse.
Pushed around by the Dynamo in their home finale, the Timbers flashed some physicality and outplayed the punchless United for much of the match, netting one in the 24th minute when Kenny Cooper headed home a spot-on Rodney Wallace cross. But Dwayne Re Rosario equalized in the 73rd and after some of the most frenetic end-to-end action you'll ever see, both sides walked away disappointed.
But only one team walked out alive.
"There was obviously a lot of chances at the end of the game," said Timbers coach John Spencer. "Two teams were just gambling."