Matchday Preview: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers at Buck Shaw Stadium
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
April 21, 2013 (WEEK 8, MLS Game #70)
8 p.m. PT (ROOT SPORTS, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940)
The San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers meet in the back end of their home-and-home series when the two clubs meet on Sunday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Timbers won the home leg of the series 1-0 last Sunday at JELD-WEN Field on a freekick goal from Will Johnson. It was a second win in a row for Portland, both at home, while San Jose returns home looking to build on a three-game home undefeated streak.
LAST MEETING (MLS):
4/14: POR 1, SJ 0 (W Johnson 78)
The battle between one-time NASL rivals hit a crescendo in the 67th minute when San Jose forward Alan Gordon saw his second yellow of the night after catching Portland defender Mikael Silvestre in the face with a flying elbow.
The game's lone goal then came after Kalif Alhassan was sent crashing to the turf just beyond the edge of the penalty area. Will Johnson sent a textbook curling freekick over the wall and inside the post just beyond the reach of diving goalkeeper Jon Busch.
PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Mikael Silvestre, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington - Diego Chara, Will Johnson – Kalif Alhassan (Frederic Piquionne 85), Darlington Nagbe (Ben Zemanski 82), Rodney Wallace – Ryan Johnson (Ryan Miller 90).
- SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Dan Gargan, Ty Harden (Nana Attakora 63), Victor Bernardez, Justin Morrow - Chris Wondolowski, Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Ramiro Corrales (Mike Fucito 84) - Alan Gordon (sent off 69), Steven Lenhart (Cordell Cato 63).
The Portland Timbers won for a second game on the trot in their home end of the San Jose series. The Timbers are in third place in the Western Conference with 9 points from 6 matches.
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes to the team that recorded a 2-0 win against Houston Dynamo at JELD-WEN Field. Mamadou Danso came into the back four for David Horst, and Kalif Alhassan started in midfield in place of Diego Valeri.
It was the second consecutive victory for the Timbers under rookie head coach Caleb Porter.
“We knew coming in that we could jump five teams in the conference, and you know we want to get above the red line and stay up there,” said Porter. “We made a push today and moved up the table. We need to make sure we keep pushing and stay there.”
Will Johnson scored his third goal of the season, over the last three games, equaling his career-high set in 26 games for Real Salt Lake a season ago.
“I’ve always had the ability to score goals, and it’s nice to be producing for the team,” Johnson said. “And also being a leader, I think that puts a little bit of extra pressure on myself and responsibility when a play needs to be made. I played on a team in Salt Lake where guys, when they needed to step up did, guys who have been around the block and now I’m that guy. So I have to step up and make plays or will other guys to make plays. It’s all part of the evolution of my game and becoming a leader here in Portland.”
The Timbers have now posted back-to-back clean sheets and have not conceded a goal in 222 minutes.
“Two games and two clean sheets, that was a part of our game that people were questioning; I wasn’t. I knew we had it in us to be a very good defensive team and we’ve shown that the last two games. A big reason is we’ve been working hard in training to tighten things up,” said Porter.
Said goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts: “Both teams we played had nothing much on goal. It a sign that we are playing well and doing what we want to do when it is becoming much easier defensively.”
With David Horst lost for the remainder of the season with a fractured leg, Mamadou “Futty” Danso made his first start of the season, partnering Mikael Silvestre in central defense.
“He was fantastic. When I told him that he would be starting he was very excited. I thought this type of game would be a very good thing, because he’s physical and very strong and good in the air. He played with a lot of maturity and confidence. You could see that he has started a lot of games,” said Porter.
Diego Valeri was also held out of the match after suffering a blow to the head that forced him out of the Houston match before the opening half-hour was complete. Continuing on from the Houston match, Darlington Nagbe slid to the attacking midfielder position and Kalif Alhassan came in on the right wing.
- “I have a little more freedom, more of a role to get forward. [Diego] Chara and I were working well last game. Being right in the middle of the field, just the two of us, you see the whole field. Being a leader puts a little extra pressure on me when a play needs to be made,” said Will Johnson.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes lost their second consecutive match on the road in the front end of the home-and-home series against Portland at JELD-WEN Field. The Quakes sit in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 8 points from 7 matches.
Quakes head coach Frank Yallop made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Buck Shaw Stadium. Steven Lenhart came into the team in place of Shea Salinas.
The Earthquakes were shut out offensively for the third time in seven games in the loss in Portland. A year ago, on their way to the Supporters’ Shield, they were shut out just twice in 34 matches – the fourth-fewest times in a season in MLS history.
“We feel we can play against anybody when we’re on our game. We were just off our passing tonight on a slick pitch” said Yallop. “Obviously, they are very good at it, they are used to playing here. I thought they moved the ball well without creating tons of chances, which was good for us defensively.”
Steven Lenhart was making his first start of the season, partnering Alan Gordon in attack. He played 63 minutes before giving way to winger Cordell Cato.
“I feel that we picked a pretty bad night to not play our best soccer. We really didn’t connect a whole lot of passes, and therefore weren’t able to get a lot of crosses or generate things around the box,” Chris Wondolowski said. “Whenever you don’t do that, you’re sitting deeper and deeper, and Portland had a great free kick to beat us.”
Gordon was sent off in the 69th minute, guaranteeing a suspension for the return match with Portland. His suspension was then lengthened by three additional games by MLS Commissioner Don Garber for using unacceptable and offensive language towards an opponent.
“Even with 10 men, I felt it was going to be 0-0 for us. Didn’t feel that we were probably going to score tonight, but felt pretty comfortable we could hang in there. We did defend the box well,” Yallop said. “I think that for us, when your back is against the wall, with 10 men, you have to keep digging in there.”
With Lenhart and Gordon starting together up top, Wondolowski moved to a wide attacking midfield role, before shifting to an out-and-out striker spot for the final 20 minutes. Shea Salinas was unavailable for the match due to a bone bruise in his left knee.
- “We wanted to get (fullbacks) Justin (Morrow) and Dan (Gargan) forward, but to do that, you have to be able to connect some passes and have a buildup,” Wondolowski said. “We didn’t do that. We couldn’t get them involved and therefore, we couldn’t get crosses in.”
REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): James Conlee; AR2 (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 12 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 6; pens: 4
DISABLED LIST: SJ: Mehdi Ballouchy
SUSPENDED: SJ: Alan Gordon (through May 8)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Victor Bernardez
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Earthquakes 0 wins, 6 goals …Timbers 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 4
AT SAN JOSE (2 meetings): Earthquakes 0 wins, 3 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 2
RETURN MATCHES: 7/27: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m. PT
- This is the back end of a home-and-home series between the clubs.
- Will Johnson’s goal gave the Timbers a 1-0 win Sunday at JELD-WEN Field, the Quakes finishing with 10 men following the sending-off of Alan Gordon.
- The teams are undefeated at home in the all-time league series. The Timbers have won two of four matches in Portland, with two draws, while both encounters at Buck Shaw Stadium have ended in draws.
- Coaches' records: Frank Yallop vs. POR: P6 W0 L2 D4 … Caleb Porter vs. SJ: P1 W1 L0 D0