The Portland Timbers could have clinched their spot in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs with a win in San Jose, but instead an energized and invigorated Earthquakes team ensured the Timbers will have to wait. For the Quakes, it was a physical and aggressive 2-1 win that could end up be season-saving, as it moved them closer to the playoff line with two more matches left on the schedule.
Vako stunned the Timbers early, racing up the flank and scoring a curler in just the 16th minute to put the San Jose Earthquakes in the driver's seat. That was followed up by Danny Hoesen mere minutes into the second half with a bit of nifty skill. Hoesen dribbled around the box and fired through the legs of Roy Miller to score.
Sebastian Blanco pulled one back in the 87th minute, but it came too late for the Timbers to build upon, and they leave San Jose waiting until after the international break to officially earn a playoff spot.
- 16' – SJ – Valeri "Vako" Qazaishvili Watch
- 49' – SJ – Danny Hoesen Watch
- 87' – POR - Sebastian Blanco Watch
- PLAYOFF PUZZLE PERSISTS: This match could have easily made the playoff picture much simpler -- if the Timbers won, they'd be in, and the Quakes would be dangling by a thread. But San Jose's win just might end up saving their season as it moved them right up against the line and within striking distance of finding a post-season spot. Now, the Timbers have to wait and try to pick up points at home for their next match. The playoff puzzle isn't pieced together yet, even as other teams have started clinching.
- VALERI'S STREAK ENDS: It turns out, Diego Valeri is human after all. After nine consecutive matches of scoring goals -- an MLS all-time record -- and lifting the Timbers through a positive string of results along the way, the Argentine playmaker finally had an unproductive outing, goal-wise, in San Jose. He couldn't add to his tally of 20 goals this season and reclaim a spot atop the Golden Boot race -- and, even worse, the Timbers lost.
- CAN THE QUAKES KEEP IT GOING?: For anyone who watched San Jose's clunker at home vs. Chicago last week, and then tuned into Saturday's win over the Timbers, the question might be, "Where has this Quakes team been?" They looked dynamic and energized, using the width of the field to race up the flanks and doing well to find outlets for creativity in the middle. The Quakes came out strong early and the Timbers looked a little shell-shocked by it.