Preview: Quakes look to stop winless skid vs. Portland

The San Jose Earthquakes conclude their homestand aiming to put a stop to a long winless skid when they entertain the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are without a victory in their last nine MLS games, following a 2-0 home loss to D.C. United last weekend. The Timbers put an end to a long home winless run in impressive fashion at midweek, with a 3-0 defeat of MLS overall leaders LA Galaxy.

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REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 48 games; FC/gm: 25.1; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 9; pens: 8

INJURY REPORT: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DF Ike Opara (L foot injury); QUESTIONABLE: DF Steven Beitashour (R leg injury); FW Alan Gordon (R quadriceps strain); MF Simon Dawkins (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Jason Hernandez (R calf strain) … PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Kevin Goldthwaite (L knee ACL rupture); FW Spencer Thompson (R knee); PROBABLE: FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); DF Jeremy Hall (groin soreness); MF Jack Jewsbury (hamstring strain); GK Troy Perkins (R hip soreness)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: POR: Diego Chara (caution accumulation; through Aug. 7)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Alan Gordon … POR: Rodney Wallace
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SJ: Sam Cronin, Bobby Convey, Jason Hernandez, Chris Leitch, Steven Lenhart … POR: James Marcelin, Lovel Palmer

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 9/21: Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m. PT

  • While the teams are meeting for the first time in league play, they played in the second round of U.S. Open Cup play-in matches. Ike Opara’s goal in the final minute of extra time gave the Earthquakes a 1-0 win May 3 at Jeld-Wen Field, the Timbers’ first loss to an MLS side at home.
  • Coaches record: Frank Yallop v POR: first game … John Spencer vs. COL: first game

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes lost for second consecutive match, falling 2-0 to D.C. United on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes have 24 points from 21 games on the season, sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • United opened the lead in the 57th minute when Andy Najar's pass from midfield found Dwayne De Rosario in behind the Earthquakes defense, and he curled his shot over a charging Jon Busch, the shot bouncing in off the bottom of the crossbar.
  • Ten minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead when De Rosario played a pass to Chris Pontius on the left flank and curled back into the box for the return pass, sending his first-time shot into the back of the net.
  • United played a man down for the final 20 minutes after Najar was ejected after hauling down Joey Gjertsen, who had slipped behind the visitors’ defense.
  • Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop made two changes to the team that went down to a 4-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Ramiro Corrales came in for the suspended Bobby Burling, and Alan Gordon started in place of Rafael Baca.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Tim Ward, Ramiro Corrales, Nana Attakora, Bobby Convey - Jacob Peterson, Khari Stephenson (Matt Luzunaris 66), Sam Cronin, Chris Wondolowski - Alan Gordon (Anthony Ampaipitakwong 73), Scott Sealy (Joey Gjertsen 58).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Earthquakes saw their winless run extended to nine games in the 2-0 home loss to D.C. United last weekend, the longest stretch without a victory since the club came back into MLS in 2008.
  • “We just have to pick ourselves up and get after it again next week; it is almost a must-win. These next two home matches are crucial for us,” said goalkeeper Jon Busch. “Unfortunately, we’ve put ourselves in a tough situation.”
  • The Quakes have scored just four goals in that stretch, shut out in seven of those nine games.
  • “Losing at home is never good, especially when you have to win. We didn’t play well. It took us 30 minutes to get going,” said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. “We had a spell [of good play] at the end of the first half. For the last 15 minutes we had a go. And then at the end, they had 10 men, and we started to have a few chances. But I think the quality was off tonight with us. They had two terrific goals, but I would’ve liked to score at home for sure. We had enough chances to get it done on the score sheet.”
  • The game also opened a vital three-game homestand for the Quakes, which concludes with the visit by Colorado next weekend. The Quakes have just three of their final 10 games at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • “There are still enough games [to make it] but we’ve got to start winning. As soon as you have not enough games to get points in then you’re out,” said Yallop. “We can win away if we get ourselves sorted out. We had a better record on the road last year, so I’m hoping we can get ourselves together and make sure we do get our wins that we need to get. We can’t give up.”
  • With Bobby Burling suspended and Jason Hernandez and Ike Opara both still injured, Yallop was forced to move Ramiro Corrales into central defense, a position he had not played in years.
  • With Steven Lenhart out due to personal leave, Alan Gordon made his first start for the Quakes since arriving at the club following a July 14 trade with Toronto FC.
  • “This is a blue collar team. That kind of fits my style. That’s what the roots of this team are from what I’ve seen over the years. Playing with (Chris Wondolowski) has been a pleasure. He is a finisher, a hard worker and a leader. I’m looking forward to playing alongside him and building a connection up top,” said Gordon. “I feel like I can come in here and add some strength up top; a physical presence who can battle. I want to come in here and score some goals and do anything I can to help on that end. That’s what I’m looking to do, and that’s what I will continue to do moving forward.”

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers got out to an early lead and eased to victory, snapping the LA Galaxy’s long unbeaten run in a 3-0 victory Wednesday at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers have 25 points from 21 games, sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Timbers took the lead after 26 minutes. Defender Mike Chabala and midfielder Darlington Nagbe traded passes on the left flank, Chabala receiving the return in the area and blasting a right-footed shot past LA ‘keeper Josh Saunders.
  • Then in the 33rd minute, a Chabala throw-in to forward Kenny Cooper was tapped on to midfielder Diego Chara. He then centered it to Perlaza, who was able to send a sliding shot past Saunders and double the Portland lead.
  • The Timbers concluded the scoring in the 68th minute when a corner by Sal Zizzo found a leaping Eric Brunner at the top of the six-yard box and he powered home a free header.
  • Timbers coach John Spencer made three changes to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC at Jeld-Wen Field. James Marcelin, Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza returned to the side, in place of Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan and Eddie Johnson.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, David Horst, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala - Sal Zizzo (Kalif Alhassan 90), James Marcelin, Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe (Rodney Wallace 85) - Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Brian Umony 88).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers had last won at home in league play on May 21, a 1-0 victory against the Columbus Crew. Portland was 0-4-2 during the stretch after winning its first five MLS matches at Jeld-Wen Field.
  • “I think we showed a massive amount of character tonight mentally after what happened to us at the weekend, when everybody expected us to blow Toronto away for some reason,” said Timbers head coach John Spencer. “I keep saying that there are no easy games in MLS. It's a very unpredictable league, as you've seen tonight. We've played very well and beat a team that is possibly the best team in the country right now."
  • Club captain Jack Jewsbury missed the match with a hamstring strain after playing every minute of the first 20 league matches in Portland’s inaugural MLS season.
  • "I think that Jack's been great for us. He's been influential. I think James Marcelin came in there and did a good job for us. I don't think there was one player on the field tonight that we couldn't say put in a fantastic performance, but you can't forget what Jack Jewsbury has done for us from the start of the season to now,” Spencer said. “He was missed, but I don't doubt for a minute that if he played tonight it wouldn't be the same result."
  • The Timbers also kept a clean sheet for the second time in four games, their first two since recording three shutouts in four games from April 30-May 21.
  • “Our concentration, at times, has let us down. ... I think the guys were up to really prove a lot of people wrong, that we could keep clean sheets,” Spencer said. “But now we have to enjoy it tonight and look forward to the San Jose game at the weekend with the same mentality. You can't get up for the bigger game and drop your standard for the game you think you should win."
  • Forward Eddie Johnson was scratched from the lineup after suffering an injury during pre-match warmups and was replaced by Kenny Cooper, who made his first start since June 25, coming off the substitutes’ bench in each of the last five games.
  • The game in San Jose starts a string of three consecutive games away from home for the Timbers, and five of their next seven are away from Jeld-Wen Field.
  • "We've beaten some quality teams here. We beat the Crew, who are sitting at the top of the East, we should've beaten New York, we beat Philadelphia and Salt Lake. We've beaten some quality teams. What we have to do now is follow this up with a real good performance this weekend," Spencer said.