United and Portland play their second game against each other in four days Wednesday at Allianz Field with plenty to remember from the Loons’ 1-0 victory won on a penalty kick in second-half stoppage time.
There was the contentious outcome itself, with a video review awarding United the penalty kick that veteran Ethan Finlay converted successfully two minutes into stoppage time.
There also was a first-half incident in which there was another video review to check if Timbers forward Brian Fernandez spit at United veteran defensive midfielder Ozzie Alonso.
The two players jostled each other as they jogged back down the field after play advanced as Loons defender Romain Metanire and Ethan Finlay moved the ball ahead of Miguel Ibarra’s scoring chance at the far left post that sailed wildly over the goal.
Behind that, Fernandez and Alonso followed side by side. The ESPN crew calling the game saw the same video that referee Chris Penso reviewed but which wasn’t shown on the national broadcast. Analyst Taylor Twellman speculated Fernandez had spit at Alonso, but play continued on after the review with no action by Penso.
Alonso said he felt something hit him.
“I think spitting,” he said after he and a handful of veteran starters jogged on their own at Monday’s light training in Blaine. “The referee said they saw nothing in the camera. I feel something behind me. I don’t know if it was spitting or something like that. They checked the replay and they didn’t see anything. We kept going and played.”
United coach Adrian Heath said he didn’t see the incident but that Timbers teammates who calmed Fernandez helped resolve the matter.
The two will meet again Wednesday in the Open Cup semifinal, with Alonso continuing a rivalry against Portland that developed during his decade playing not far away in Seattle.
“I played them so many times when I was in Seattle,” Alonso said. “It’s always a battle, but now here in Minnesota I take it the same. I don’t want to lose to Portland…I want to win every game, doesn’t matter the team. But always Portland because I’ve got a history with them playing with Seattle. But every game for me is the same.”