The Portland Timbers seemed to have a great opportunity to grab a debut win for the 2019 season on Saturday when they faced another winless side, the San Jose Earthquakes, at Avaya Stadium. Turns out, that expectation could not have been further from the truth.
The Earthquakes ran out to a three-goal lead in the first 35 minutes and dominated throughout, as they were clearly the better side in a 3-0 win. While both teams have endured difficult starts to the season, the Timbers head coach apologized for the performance immediately after the match.
"The only thing is an apology because it’s not good enough, this performance tonight."— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) April 7, 2019
Coach Gio Savarese's message to the Timbers supporters after the loss in San Jose. #SJvPOR #RCTID pic.twitter.com/0lYpr9xaMP
“The only thing I have to [do] is to apologize to the Timbers fans because it wasn’t good enough today,” Giovanni Savarese told ROOT Sports postgame. “I think the first half the display wasn’t good — the effort. Just they were better than us. They deserved to be 3-0 [up] the first half. In the second half we did do some better things, but a little too late and unfortunately you have to live with what you didn’t do in the first half.“
It appeared the Timbers might mount a comeback after halftime, as they earned a penalty, but Diego Valeri's attempt was saved by Quakes GK Daniel Vega in the 56th minute, giving the home side a boost to keep pushing for three points.
Throughout the match, San Jose seemed to be the first to every ball, and Savarese lamented the disparity in workrate.
“I actually told the guys that if we don’t work we’re going to lose this match like this,” he said. "We have to work, we have to be better and we have to make sure that our performance is … we have to step it up. This isn’t good enough. We had a very good game last game against the Galaxy. Today we deserved to lose. We deserved to lose 3-0. And this is the reality of the match.”
Portland are in the middle of a long road trip to begin the 2019 season. They have one point in five games, sit last in the overall league standings, and have conceded 15 goals so far, second-worst in MLS. With seven games to go before hosting a home game at Providence Park on June 1, the rough start seems to be taking a toll on the Timbers.
"It's really hard to think about that now," Valeri said to The Oregonian's Jamie Goldberg after the game about the team's four-game losing streak. "We will rest well and prepare [for] the next game...It's not a good moment."
"It's all about us. We will be the ones who change this," Valeri added.