The Portland Timbers endured a slow start, two waived off goals, and a series of vicious elbows en route to their last minute 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. With the Quakes packing it in and looking to frustrate the Timbers at every turn it took a stoppage time miracle from Jack Jewsbury to pull out the win.
Things almost went downhill for the Timbers' in the 24th minute as San Jose pressed forward on the attack and earned a corner. Swinging the ball into the box, the Quakes found the head of former Timbers U23s player Mark Sherrod, who rose above Norberto Paparatto to power a header on goal. It looked like Sherrod would open his 2015 accound, but for the arm of Alvas Powell, who looked to swat the ball away off the goal line. While San Jose appealed for the penalty, Ricardo Salazar swallowed his whistle and waved play on and the Timbers cleared.
Salazar was again at the center of the play in the 40th minute as Diego Valeri ran onto a pass behind the San Jose back line, cut toward the center of the pitch, then tucked the ball away around David Bingham in goal at the near post only to be judged offside by Salazar despite his linesman not raising his flag. This time Salazar would be vindicated, however, as replays had Valeri ahead of the back line.
Salazar put his stamp on the game again in the 45th minute as a ball in the San Jose box skipped up off the pitch and hit the arm of Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and settled back nicely at his feet. This time it was the Timbers calling for a penalty, but again Salazar waved play on.
The second half continued to be the Salazar show when, in the 50th minute, Dairon Asprilla picked off a misplaced San Jose pass in the center of the pitch and streaked toward the Quakes' box. Just steps outside the 18, Asprilla's run was abruptly stopped, when Clarence Goodson stepped in a knocked him off the ball. With no other Quakes players between Asprilla and the goal, it looked like Goodson would be sent off for denial of a goalscoring opportunity, but instead was only given a yellow card. The free kick itself went wanting as Valeri hammered his attempt directly into the wall and Jewsbury's follow up attempt blazed high and wide.
It looked like the Timbers had finally broken through in the 87th minute as they quickly broke down the field with a series of quick, incisive passes, culminating in a curled cross that found Gaston Fernandez at the back post. Although Bingham got a palm to La Gata's header, there was too much power on the ball to be stopped and the Timbers celebrated what looked like a late winner. It was not to be, however, as the linesman had his flag up from the moment the ball was served in and Salazar waved off the goal.
Finally, as the match's four minute of stoppage time wound down, the Timbers threw forward a final series of attacks. In the 92nd minute, it was Fernandez with the ball at his feet, driving at the San Jose back line, only to be taken down by Bernardez, earning a foul just on the edge of the area. Valeri stepped up to the ball, firing in a quick free kick that Fernandez got a foot to, but could only steer it away from goal. It seemed like the chance would go wanting, but from out of nowhere, Jewsbury appeared, leaping for the ball out by the end line and getting a foot to it, arching the ball up and over the outstretched arms of the keeper and into the back of the.
This time there was a pause around the stadium as the crowd waited for the goal to be called off until, moments later, Providence Park erupted in cheers.
The win over the Earthquakes moves the Timbers back into third place in the Western Conference, tied on points with the 4th place LA Galaxy. The Timbers' next match is on the road against the Philadelphia Union next Saturday.
jewsbury finally gets the game winner in added