PORTLAND, Ore. – On a night full of close calls and near misses – from players and referees – between two Western Conference playoff hopefuls, Jack Jewsbury waited until nearly the last minute to find the game’s lone goal, giving the Portland Timbers a wild 1-0 win Sunday night over the San Jose Earthquakes.
Jewsbury chipped in a loose ball off a corner kick in the first minute of stoppage time from a near impossible angle along the baseline, the Timbers veteran’s second stoppage-time game winner this season, to spark a riotous celebration from the home crowd on a steamy night in the Rose City.
Up to that point, Portland had peppered the San Jose goal with 22 shots but were unable to find the finishing touch. The win puts Portland, winners of six of their last seven league matches, back in a tie with the LA Galaxy for third place in the conference with 31 points from 19 games.
A shorthanded San Jose squad – missing leading goal-scorer Chris Wondolowski to US national team duty for the Gold Cup and playmaker Matias Perez Garcia – saw out a tidy defensive effort, until late, go by the boards, leaving them in seven place with 25 points from 17 games.
The first half was eventful, even if it wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard. An apparent handball in the box on a goal-line clearance by Timber defender Alvas Powell in the 24th minute on a booming Mark Sherrod corner-kick header went uncalled.
Later in the half, what was initially thought to be a Diego Valeri goal in the 40th minute was called off for being offside – if not a bit late. In the 45th minute, the officiating crew really riled the home crowd when a handball in the box on the opposite end that again went ignored when Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi’s attempted clearance appeared to bounce off his arm.
Aside from that, there were some good – compliant – looks on goal in the first 45.
Timbers winger Darlington Nagbe played out wide to Jorge Villafana, whose left-footed rip from the left corner of the box was saved nicely by a diving David Bingham in the 19th minute. In the 38th minute, Tommy Thompson teed up from distance, but Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey easily dealt with the effort.
The Timbers continued to push in the second half. In the 57th minute, Valeri blew past a San Jose defender on the right edge of the box with a nifty touch to get off a sliding look on goal, but Bingham was up the task. Valeri came up with another look in the 74th minute, but his attempt from the left side of the box flew high.
Liam Ridgewell nearly headed in the winner on an 81st-minute corner kick, but his attempt was directed right at Bingham.
San Jose’s calls for another penalty kick in the 83rd minute again went unheeded when Thompson was taken down in the box as he ran at goal following a quick throw-in.
The home crowd initially celebrated what they thought was the game winner in the 87th minute when second-half substitute Gaston Fernandez headed home a perfectly placed Powell cross, but it was ruled offside.
San Jose are back in action in five days’ time for a Friday night showdown with the Houston Dynamo. Portland next travel to face the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.