PORTLAND, Ore. – On a day that was all about MLS history in a game that was all about Chris Wondolowski, the league’s best striker wouldn’t be denied.
The San Jose forward potted a PK in the first half, tying Roy Lassiter’s single-season mark of 27 goals as the Quakes played to a 1-1 tie at JELD-WEN field against a very game Portland Timbers side. Bright Dike put home his fifth of the season midway through the second half for the final score.
Lassiter set the record in 1996, and it hadn’t been approached in a decade. The record-tying strike came thanks to Wondolowski’s partner up top, Steven Lenhart, who was pulled down in the box by Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts for a clear penalty.
Wondolowski took the penalty kick in the 24th minute, calmly pounding it past Ricketts for the 1-0 lead. But from there, the Timbers put the clamps on.
Led by defenders David Horst and Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Portland gave San Jose precious few looks on net. And come the second half, they began to put a bit of pressure in the other direction, attacking brightly through Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe.
But it was Dike who was the man on the spot, equalizing in the 67th minute when he cleaned up a rebound from his own shot on San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch. Those were Portland’s first and second shots on goal after a punchless first hour.
The build up to Dike’s goal came on a counter after Wondolowski just missed out on a golden opportunity to set the record. His header on a cross by Shea Salinas angled just outside the left goalpost.
That turned out to be the striker’s last, best chance to better Lassiter’s record. He and San Jose eventually had to settle for the draw, which sees them into the playoffs on a nine-game unbeaten run, but with only one win in their last four.
The result for the Timbers puts a merciful end to a disappointing season, albeit with a few positives coming off their Cascadia Cup-winning victory last weekend over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Portland went unbeaten in the three-game series with San Jose, with two ties and a victory, and lost just once in their last four. They’ll have the third overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft.
San Jose will play the winner of the LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps Knockout Round next weekend.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||David Horst||Played like a man possessed, and didn't show any of the mental lapses that have plagued him all season.|
|2||Sam Cronin||Probably the league's most underrated player. Cronin clears up so many mistakes in front of that backline.|
|3||Bright Dike||Portland's mini-revival came when he won the starting role. Expect big things from him in 2013.|