PORTLAND, Ore. – Jack Jewsbury’s follow-up to the best season of his career hasn’t exactly gone as he’d hoped.
Before he scored in the Timbers' 2-1 win over San Jose on Tuesday, Jewsbury went the first 14 games of the season without a goal. And with just two assists on the year, Portland’s captain was moved from his mainstay position at attacking midfielder, where he racked up a career high seven goals and eight assists in 2011, to right back.
With that in mind, Jewsbury’s 59th-minute goal, which proved to be the game-winner, had to have taken some sting out of an otherwise disappointing season.
Of course, the always-humble Jewsbury stuck to team accomplishments after earning three points following a lackluster performance in a 3-0 loss last Saturday in Colorado.
GOAL: Jewsbury bundles ball past Bingham
“It feels good,” Jewsbury said. “A lot of people had questions for us after the poor performance in Colorado. We wanted to prove to ourselves and everyone else that we had the fight in us because we knew against them that it was going to be a battle. It wasn’t going to be the prettiest game in the world. We fought from minute one and deserved the result.”
Jewsbury was there to clean up a free kick that San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham misplayed as he challenged for the ball with Timbers defender Mamadou “Futty” Danso.
He said the strong performance against San Jose, which came into the game with the league’s best record thanks in part to a three-game winning streak, is a big confidence booster but one they need to build on with a game at Real Salt Lake looming Saturday.
“We’ve got confidence, but the reality is it is one game,” he said. “It’s time for us to start putting two and three performances together to really get us going up in the standings and in that playoff race.”
Songo’o bounces back with strong performance
Jewsbury wasn’t the only Timbers player to earn a touch of redemption in Tuesday’s victory.
Franck Songo’o’s cross to forward Danny Mwanga for the game’s first goal capped off a perfectly executed counter attack and was perhaps his finest moment in a Timbers jersey. It was just Songo’o’s second assist this season, surprising considering he recorded four assists in four games during the preseason.
It also came on the heels of a first-half benching Saturday against Colorado.
“I wasn’t happy coming out, with the two goals coming from my side,” Songo’o said of the Colorado game. “I wanted to prove to my teammates that I could do better. I came out, everyone did, we played as a great team.”
But it wasn’t just the assist to Mwanga that brough redemption. Songo’o’s attacking play led to a number of opportunities. Although he came out in the 74th minute with an injury, head coach John Spencer said it was Songo’o’s most complete performance of the season.
“We don’t sub players because we don’t like them,” Spencer said of his decision to bench Songo’o early in the Colorado game. “We sub players because they don’t play well. He got subbed tonight because he was injured, but I thought quality-wise on the ball he was head and shoulders above anyone on the field.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.