The Portland Timbers kept the pressure on the San Jose Earthquakes for the full 90' in tonight's Western Conference match up, but defensive miscues and poor finishing left the home team with a 3-3 scoreline despite outshooting their opponents 32-12.
The Timbers completely controlled the game for long stretches, including the entirety of the first 20' of play. Having withstood the Timbers' early onslaught, however, San Jose began to counter attack down the pitch and, as have many others in Portland this year, they saw results from it.
Breaking down the pitch in the 21', the Quakes pushed forward and found the Timbers' defense in front of them in complete disarray. Bouncing the ball around the right flank, the Quakes eventually saw a pair of shots from Shae Salinas on goal, one blocked by Donovan Ricketts, his lone save of the night, and the other off the far post.
It was the second shot that would finally unlock the Timbers' defense as the deflection off the woodwork fell neatly to Chris Wondolowski, alone in the center of the box. With a pair of Timbers on the goal line, Wondo had time to slot the ball home with ease, putting the Quakes up 1-0.
Now a goal down, the Timbers hesitated, but were soon pushing forward again, putting continuous pressure on the San Jose defense. With the their weakness now exposed, however, the Timbers were hit on the counter time and again, only avoiding conceding again in the first half thanks to some quick tracking back and several poor finishes from the San Jose strikers.
The second half, however, was another story as San Jose found another crack in the Timbers defense in the 48', putting themselves up 2-0 thanks to a mental break down on Portland's back line.
Again on the break, the Quakes drove the ball down the left flank, with Cordell Cato carrying the ball down the wing. With men running into the box, Cato put a low cross in, only to have the ball deflect off Wondolowski and Pa Modou Kah and settle in the Timbers' box. As the assembled defenders looked on, Cato continued his run into the box, streaking past Liam Ridgewell, and hit the ball first time, sending a low curler past Ricketts at the far post to extend the San Jose lead.
The Timbers, to their credit, continued their high pressure attack, bombing on both fullbacks and even Ridgewell as they sought to get back in the match. In the 54' it paid off, with a quick strike from Alvas Powell to get the Timbers on the board.
Diego Valeri, who had been masterfully pulling the strings of the Timbers' attack all night, played a chipped ball over the San Jose defense, finding Powell arriving at the post alongside his defender. Cutting inside, Powell found himself facing Earthquakes keeper Jon Busch. Powell fired off a quick, hard shot from a tight angle, beating Busch and finding the back of the net.
With their confidence renewed, the Timbers continued pressing and in the 74' it was again a defender getting forward to put one away. With Timbers all around goal, Valeri whipped in a cross through the San Jose six yard box that skipped just out of reach of Kalif Alhassan, only to find Ridgewell crashing the back post. Busch was quick to react, getting down in front fo the Timbers' centerback, but Ridgewell hit the ball hard with his first touch, putting it off the keeper and in to pull the Timbers even.
The Timbers, having fought back from two goals down, now looked like the confident, dominating team of the first 20' again, so when the Quakes struck for the third time in the 85' it again came as a surprise, even as the Quakes found yet more success on the break.
With the Timbers committed forward, looking for the game winning goal, the Quakes won the ball and quickly brought it down the pitch, finding Shea Salinas on their left wing. Salinas, seeing Wondolowski running into the box, pumped in an early cross, catching Kah and Ridgewell off guard as the elusive forward stepped into the space between the Timbers defenders and got the slightest header on the ball, deflecting it past Ricketts and into the back of the net.
Despite this last blow, the Timbers were somehow not yet finished and, only one minute later, they managed to find a third goal of their own. Again Powell bombed on down the right flank and again Valeri found him on the run. This time, however, Powell hit a quick, dropped pass back into the San Jose box, just in time for Alhassan to arrive on the scene. Turning before the surprised defenders could react, Kalif fired off a low shot, just out of the reach of Busch that tucked into the back of the net for the final score of the night.