PORTLAND, Ore. – With the Portland Timbers hanging their heads after a 1-1 tie Wednesday against San Jose, goalkeeper Troy Perkins silently can know he logged top-shelf minutes.
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The Timbers stalwart in the net wasn’t perfect, but his six saves – including one late, diving attempt on a header by Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski – were the reason his team walked away with one point instead of none.
“That’s my job, you know,” Perkins said. “In all honesty, I didn’t think we played well enough to get three points.”
Perkins saved the game for Portland with three minutes remaining when midfielder Rafael Baca put a cross into Wondolowski, whose header seemed destined for the back of the net. Perkins said it was all reaction.
“It’s lucky he puts it close enough that I can get a hand on it,” Perkins said. “That’s just reaction. That’s what we work on in training.”
After Portland got on the board first on a Kenny Cooper goal in the ninth minute, Perkins turned away a right-footed rocket by midfielder Simon Dawkins in the 18th minute.
And Perkins was there on a number of long shots taken by San Jose’s attacking corps of Wondolowski, Khari Stephenson, Dawkins and Ramiro Corrales. In all, San Jose got off 19 shots and dominated possession throughout much of the first half.
“Fantastic,” defender Mike Chabala said of Perkins’ play. “The guy really stepped up big tonight. He’s been big for us all year. He’s definitely had his fair share of keeping us in the game this year.”
The former US national team member and six-year MLS veteran has eight shutouts this season – tied for his career high – in just 29 games played. His lone blemish Wednesday came in the 70th minute when Stephenson fired a right-footed shot through traffic in front of the box and past Perkins.
“It went right between one of our defender’s legs,” Perkins said of the shot that was set up by a Baca cross. “And with this surface, when it hits the ground it picks up speed.”
Timbers head coach John Spencer said positives could be taken from the result despite the feelings of disappointment. He admitted that San Jose were in top form and, in all reality, his team was lucky to escape with the tie.
“I think San Jose came with a great game plan,” Spencer said. “They played very well tonight, and they didn’t manage to get three points.”
The goal broke Perkins streak of three straight clean sheets. He said while he put in a quality turn, the tie still stings.
“We have to win to get in,” he said of the Timbers' playoff push. “We’ve got to make every game seem like it’s our last.”