Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes: MLS match preview

PORTLAND TIMBERS vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
JELD-WEN FIELD, Portland, Ore.
April 14, 2013 (WEEK 7, MLS Game #60)
7:30 p.m. PT (NBC Sports Network,
stream on NBC Sports Live Extralive chat on MLSsoccer.com)

The Portland Timbers will be looking to build off their first win of the season when they entertain the San Jose Earthquakes before an NBC Sports Network audience on Sunday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers broke through for their initial victory under head coach Caleb Porter with a 2-0 win against MLS Cup finalist Houston Dynamo last weekend. The Quakes were pegged back for a 1-1 draw at home with Vancouver Whitecaps FC a week ago.

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REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Paul Scott; JAR (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 79 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 14; pens: 11

DISABLED LIST: SJ -- Mehdi Ballouchy
SUSPENDED: none 
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SJ: Victor Bernardez
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD:
ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 7 goals ... Earthquakes 0 wins, 6 goals ... Ties 4
AT PORTLAND (3 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 4 goals ... Earthquakes 0 wins, 3 goals ... Ties 2
RETURN MATCHES: 4/21 -- San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers, 8 p.m. PT (UniMas) ... 7/27 -- San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m. PT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/3: POR 2, SJ 1 (Mwanga 29; Jewsbury 59 – Gordon 74)
9/19: SJ 2, POR 2 (Wondolowski 73, 92+ -- Mwanga 45, 62)
10/27: POR 1, SJ 1 (Dike 67 – Wondolowski 24)

  • This is the first meeting in a home-and-home series between the clubs over the next two weeks.
  • The teams are undefeated at home in the all-time league series. The Timbers have won two of three matches in Portland, with one draw, while both encounters at Buck Shaw Stadium have ended in draws.
  • Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. POR: P5 W0 L1 D4 ... Caleb Porter vs. SJ: first game

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers made Caleb Porter a winner for the first time as head coach in Major League Soccer, getting two second-half goals for a 2-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday. The Timbers are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 6 points from 5 matches.

LAST MATCH

Highlights: Portland 2, Houston 0

  • After a scoreless first half which saw two Timbers starters -- midfielder Diego Valeri and defender David Horst – come off the field injured, Portland took the lead 10 minutes after the break. Ryan Johnson took a perfectly placed cross from Diego Chara and nudged it by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall with a lunging left-footed attempt as the goalkeeper vainly tried to keep it out.
  • Johnson doubled his and the Timbers account in the 73rd minute. He broke free down the left flank, perfectly timing his run behind the Dynamo backline to run onto a through ball from Darlington Nagbe, then buried his angled shot from the left side of the box inside the far post.
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes to the team that played to a playing to a 2-2 result with the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Mikael Silvestre came into the back four and Rodney Wallace started on a wing, in place of Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Ben Zemanski.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Mikael Silvestre, David Horst (Andrew Jean-Baptiste 18), Michael Harrington - Will Johnson - Diego Chara, Diego Valeri (Kalif Alhassan 29) - Darlington Nagbe, Ryan Johnson (Frederic Piquionne 88), Rodney Wallace.

TEAM NEWS 

WATCH: Timbers preview SJ match-up

  • While Caleb Porter won for the first time as head coach in MLS, the Timbers did extend their undefeated streak to three games, with just one loss on the season.
  • “We’re figuring out how to piece the group together in a way where you get enough in the attack but also enough balance defensively,” Porter said. “I think we’ve evolved in every single game in that regard. The last game I thought we were balanced but a bit tentative in terms of our mentality and aggressiveness early on, but that won’t be the case in this game.”
  • A week after Will Johnson had his first career two-goal game, Ryan Johnson performed the same feat, netting twice in the win against Houston. Ryan Johnson has 30 goals in 157 games in his MLS career.
  • “He was very good. This team is predicated on working hard; running, pressing. He’s a workmanlike player and he did that,” Porter said. “He worked them hard running, pressing, and making things happen – he played well.”
  • The Timbers suffered two injury blows before the game was a half-hour old. First, in the 18th minute, David Horst went down with what was later determined to be a displaced tibial plateau fracture of his right leg. He will be out an estimated six months.
  • Horst was making just his second start of the season after an injury-plagued preseason. He was replaced by Andrew Jean-Baptiste, who had started the first four games in central defense before giving way to Horst and Mikael Silvestre in the Houston match.
  • “He went in and did a great job and was the starter earlier in the year,” Porter said of Jean-Baptiste. “And even though we lost Horst and it’s too bad and we feel for him, when Baptiste went in we didn’t miss a beat and we still got the clean sheet with those two guys in there.”
  • Midfielder Diego Valeri was also forced off in the first half after he took an elbow to the head while challenging for an aerial ball. Kalif Alhassan came on in his stead, with Nagbe shifting to Valeri’s spot as an attacking midfielder.
  • “We shifted Darlington Nagbe in his role, and we put Kalif [Alhassan] on and I thought those two guys played fantastic, and really everybody. I thought it was a comprehensive performance on both sides of the ball. It really looked like what we want our identity to be,” said Porter.
  • Jack Jewsbury moved back to right back, in place of Ben Zemanski, with Will Johnson filling a spot in the center of the park.
  • “I thought Jack Jewsbury did an unbelievable job. He played like I’d hoped he would; smart positionally, balancing our team out. He’s a mature player, and you could see that tonight,” said Porter. “Mikael Silvestre was class tonight, he won a lot of air balls in that second half. Michael Harrington has been very consistent.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes saw their two-game home winning streak come to an end, Vancouver Whitecaps FC coming back for a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday evening. The Quakes sit in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 8 points from 6 matches.

LAST MATCH

Highlights: San Jose 1, Vancouver 1

  • The Earthquakes took the lead in the 18th minute. Shea Salinas took possession and fed striker Alan Gordon, who knocked a first-time pass to Chris Wondolowski, who curled a cultured right-footed strike around Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon to the only available spot, high at the near post.
  • The visitors took advantage of a bizarre circumstance to level terms in the 62nd minute. With two San Jose players on the sidelines changing their boots on a slick night, Corey Hertzog dragged a deflected Daigo Kobayashi shot to set himself up from nine yards out and fired home past San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch.
  • Quakes head coach Frank Yallop made two changes to the team that fell 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Dan Gargan came into the back four for Jason Hernandez, and Alan Gordon started up top in place of Adam Jahn.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, Victor Bernardez, Justin Morrow - Shea Salinas (Cordell Cato 69), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Ramiro Corrales (Steven Lenhart 69) - Alan Gordon (Mike Fucito 76), Chris Wondolowski.

TEAM NEWS

Hangout: Quakes experts break down POR-SJ

  • After back-to-back wins at Buck Shaw Stadium, the Quakes dropped home points for the second time this season.
  • “I thought we played pretty well throughout the run of play. I have felt that way about most of our performances in games this season. We possessed the ball well for the majority of the game and created some really good chances for ourselves,” said Quakes head coach Frank Yallop.
  • Chris Wondolowski netted his third goal of the season in the 18th minute, the three coming over the last five matches.
  • “It was a great finish after some play in the buildup. I thought we created numerous chances throughout the first half and deserved to get that goal and there could have even been more throughout the game,” said Yallop.
  • After making his season debut the week before in Houston, Alan Gordon made his first start of 2013, playing 76 minutes in partnering Wondolowski in attack.
  • “It’s up to us to give [Gordon] the chances to score and do his thing,” Yallop said. “It’s obviously up to Alan to make sure that he takes care of that foot and hip that he had the surgeries on. . . . You can’t expect these guys to come back and [say], ‘the cavalry’s arrived.’”
  • Steven Lenhart made his first appearance of the season, coming on as a substitute in the 69th minute. “I think Lenny came on in the second half and gave us another attacking option to play through. Having him back gives us another presence in the box and the ability to score. And we saw that tonight; he was very dangerous in the box late in the game,” said Yallop.
  • Said Lenhart: “It felt good to get back out there with the guys and in front of these fans. I was moving well, creating space and fighting for headers. I think there were some positives in my play heading into Portland.”
  • Ty Harden slotted in at center back in place of Jason Hernandez, held out as a precaution after taking a hard knock from goalkeeper Jon Busch in the Houston match. Dan Gargan replaced Harden at right back.