Preview: Portland hope to end road woes at San Jose

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
September 19, 2012 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #273)
7:30 p.m. PT (CSN-CA; KPDX)
 
The San Jose Earthquakes will be looking to maintain their long home unbeaten run and their hold on the MLS Supporters’ Shield when they play host to the Portland Timbers on Wednesday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are undefeated in their last 12 league games at home, leading the MLS overall table after their 2-0 win at Chivas USA last weekend. The Timbers are grimly holding onto their dreams of a first MLS Cup Playoffs trip, coming off a thrilling 1-1 home draw with Seattle last weekend.
 
REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: Yader Reyes
MLS Career: 7 games; FC/gm: 22.3; Y/gm: 2.6; R: 5; pens: 3
 
 
INJURY REPORT:
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Cesar Diaz Pizarro (R groin strain); MF Marvin Chavez (L hamstring strain); MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); MF Sercan Guvenisik (L hamstring strain); DF Tim Ward (L nonspecific soft tissue injury)
PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery); PROBABLE: MF Freddie Braun (abdominal strain); DF Andrew Jean-Baptiste (L hamstring strain)
 
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
 
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
SJ: Victor Bernardez, Rafael Baca
POR: Jack Jewsbury
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
SJ: Mehdi Ballouchy. Marvin Chavez, Ramiro Corrales, Steven Lenhart, Steven Beitashour, Alan Gordon, Chris Wondolowski
POR: Kris Boyd, Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, Lovel Palmer, Kosuke Kimura, Diego Chara
 
HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Earthquakes 0 wins, 3 goals … Timbers 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 2
AT SAN JOSE (1 meeting): Earthquakes 0 wins, 1 goal … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 10/27: Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 3:30 p.m. PT (NBC SN)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this year. Goals from Danny Mwanga and Jack Jewsbury sent the Timbers on their way to a 2-1 win July 3 at Jeld-Wen Field. It was the first win by either team in the all-time series.
  • The teams played to a pair of 1-1 draws in league play in the Timbers’ inaugural MLS season. They also met in the U.S. Open Cup, the Quakes winning 1-0 in a play-in game in Portland.
  • Coaches' records: Frank Yallop v POR: P3 W0 L1 D2 … Gavin Wilkinson vs. SJ: first game
LAST MEETING (MLS):
7/3: POR 2, SJ 1 (Mwanga 29, Jewsbury 59 – Gordon 74)
  • The Timbers took the lead on 29 minutes. From a counterattack, Franck Songo’o delivered a perfect cross from the right wing to a charging Danny Mwanga, and the hometown hero chipped in past Quakes goalkeeper David Bingham for his first goal for Portland.
  • Portland doubled their lead in the 59th minute. Under pressure from Mamadou 'Futty' Danso while trying to reach a Songo’o free kick, Bingham wasn't able to secure the ball. Jack Jewsbury pounced and slid in to prod it over the line before Bingham could recover.
  • The Quakes once again hit for a late goal. Alan Gordon redirected a long shot by Marvin Chavez past Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins in the 74th minute to cut the deficit, but this time they could not come all the way back.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Jack Jewsbury, David Horst, Mamadou Danso, Steven Smith (Mike Chabala 63) - Franck Songo'o (Sal Zizzo 74), Lovel Palmer (Freddie Braun 86), Darlington Nagbe, Eric Alexander - Kris Boyd, Danny Mwanga.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-3-1-2): David Bingham - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez (Tressor Moreno 84), Victor Bernardez, Justin Morrow - Rafael Baca (Marvin Chavez 59), Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas - Khari Stephenson (Steven Lenhart 62) - Alan Gordon, Chris Wondolowski.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes recorded a second win against Chivas USA in as many outings, this time a 2-0 result on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Quakes lead the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 56 points from 28 games.
 
LAST MATCH
  • The Quakes took the lead five minutes before the intermission. After San Jose’s Alan Gordon was elbowed by Chivas defender John Valencia inside the box, referee Chris Penso conferred with his assistant and then pointed to the spot. Chris Wondolowski converted from the spot, and at halftime, Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser was dismissed from the field.
  • San Jose quickly doubled their advantage four minutes after the break. Justin Morrow slipped the ball across the penalty area towards Wondolowski, who laid the ball off to Gordon, and he powered a shot past an offbalance Dan Kennedy.
  • Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made two changes to the team that rolled to a 4-0 victory against Chivas USA at Buck Shaw Stadium. Justin Morrow came in at left back for Ramiro Corrales and Mehdi Ballouchy replaced Marvin Chavez in the midfield.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara, Victor Bernardez, Justin Morrow - Mehdi Ballouchy (Ramiro Corrales 75), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Simon Dawkins (Khari Stephenson 90) - Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon (Steven Lenhart 62).
TEAM NEWS
  • The Quakes have won three games in a row, matching their season-long set three times earlier. They are riding a 12-game undefeated streak at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • No matter where you go in our league, there is always a tough game. I thought we were good all-round and I think we could’ve scored more goals in the end,” said Quakes head coach Frank Yallop. “Winning brings confidence. I thought it was a tricky game tonight, we played them last game and actually I thought it was a pretty even game but we came out as winners.”
  • Chris Wondolowski scored his first goal since Aug. 18, his second consecutive goal from the penalty spot, and extended his lead atop the MLS Golden Boot standings to four goals ahead of New York’s Kenny Cooper and Salt Lake’s Álvaro Sabório.
  • The 19 goals are the most in a single MLS season since Landon Donovan scored 20 in 2008, and a singleseason career-high for Wondolowski. He led MLS with 18 goals in 2010.
  • Alan Gordon scored his 12th goal in the win vs. Chivas USA; he and MLS Golden Boot leader Chris Wondolowski have combined for 31 goals entering the week. Gordon had 22 career goals in eight MLS seasons entering the  season.
  • A year ago, Wondolowski tied for the league lead with 16 goals, but finished second in the MLS Golden Boot standings to D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario, who had 12 assists to Wondolowski’s three. Wondolowski contributed his seventh assist of the season on Gordon’s goal – matching his career total from his first seven MLS seasons.
  • “Chris is always in good spots, and I think he’s looking for his teammates now,” Yallop said. “They’re making good runs and he’s making good choices with the ball in the final third. It’s not always a shot for Chris. Obviously, he’s a goalscorer, but he’s adding another string to his bow, if you like, with his assist play this season.”
  • Said Wondolowski: “It was just great movement, an easy job of laying it off and a heck of a finish by Alan. Those goals are a bit special because it involves six or seven guys that are intricate parts of it. I know only one or two guys get the assists, but it was one of those team goals.”
  • The Quakes have scored 10 goals over their last three games, while they’ve recorded back-to-back shutouts for a third time this season.
  • “The defense has done a fantastic job. I’m not sure of exact numbers, but a few goals have been scored in the last five games and that’s impressive,: said Wondolowski.” Throughout we’ve had a lot of different guys in there but I think it also comes with all 11 guys, we work hard we start with a lot of pressure and our midfield put in so much work and covered so much ground.”
  • Mehdi Ballouchy made his first start for the Quakes, playing a wide midfield role with Marvín Chavez sidelined with a hamstring strain that could put him out 2-4 weeks.
  • “It gives us a different look from normal wide players. I’m pleased with the game plan, and pleased with Mehdi’s contribution, for sure,” said Yallop. Said Ballouchy: “I think us coming in helps [Beitashour and Morrow] get wide and high. That’s what they like do and they can get off more crosses that way. ... When we start in the middle, combining [passes], it brings the opposition tight in the middle, which opens up the wide spots. And then we go back to our crossing game.”
 
PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers stretched their home unbeaten streak to four games, coming back for a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers are in a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with 28 points from 28 games.
 
LAST MATCH
  • Mere seconds after Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was forced off with an injury in the 57th minute, Sounders FC took the lead. From a restart by goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, Fredy Montero brought it down in the area and fired a right-footed missile from the right corner of the box on the turn that beat subsitute 'keeper Joe Bendik to the top corner.
  • But the home side pulled even in the 78th minute. From a corner kick, Rodney Wallace skied to meet a Jack Jewsbury cross that pinballed in front of the goal before a Seattle defender’s attempt to clear it out of danger pushed the ball just over the line inside the post.
  • Timbers interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson made one change to the side that dropped a 3-0 decision to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Rodney Wallace came in at left back for the suspended Steven Smith.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts (Joseph Bendik 57) - Kosuke Kimura, Hanyer Mosquera, David Horst, Rodney Wallace - Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara - Sal Zizzo (Kalif Alhassan 83), Darlington Nagbe, Franck Songo'o (Danny Mwanga 72) - Bright Dike.
TEAM NEWS
  • While the Timbers were not able to clinch the Cascadia Cup for this season, they did remain in the driver’s seat, now with eight points from four matches, with trips to both Seattle and Vancouver still ahead.
  • “We’ll accept coming away with a tie, I think coming back from a goal down. If you’re a goal up, and you give that away, it’s three points lost. I think we salvaged a point today,” said Timbers interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson. " … We gave the fans something to be excited about, and kept the Cascadia Cup very, very much alive, and benefiting us, I hope. We’ll go on the road, we have great fan support on the road, and we still get to bring it back to Portland, hopefully, if and when.”
  • With Steven Smith suspended for the match with yellow card accumulation, Rodney Wallace made his first start since Aug. 15, playing at left back.
  • “I thought Wallace tonight showed a lot of energy and defensively did a good job,” Wilkinson said. “He was very, very involved going forward. … I thought Rodney as a left back did a tremendous job.”
  • Said Wallace: “Obviously there are things I can improve on every time, but from here on it’s just one of those things where I have just have to move forward and keep it going. This isn’t anything to be super excited about. We still have many games to go, and I still have to improve myself every single day.”
  • After playing every minute of his first five matches with the club following his arrival from the Montréal Impact, goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was forced from the field injured before the hour mark.
  • Joe Bendik made his first appearance in a league game since April 28 vs. Montréal, when he came on for Troy Perkins at the three-quarter mark of the game.
  • “We probably should’ve played with a little bit more of a stronger mentality in that situation. Charge the ball a little bit higher up the field and get him [Bendik] a touch on the ball. The first touch on the ball for him was picking it up out of the back of the net,” said Wilkinson. “I thought his mentality, his character showed, and his response. I think he made a fantastic save there, and it was positive from everybody.”
  • Jack Jewsbury picked up his second assist in the last four games, his first assists since recording helpers on two of Portland’s first three goals on the season in the 3-1 First Kick win vs. Philadelphia.
  • “I think we have a belief in one another that maybe we didn’t have earlier in the season, that we’re not going to put our heads down when we go down a goal, and give up a second and third,” said Jewsbury. “We have the belief in one another, and this is a confident group. I think we’re playing well, and maybe on another day, we get out of here with three points.”