After four months basking in the glow of the Portland Timbers' MLS Cup win, fans from the Rose City were reminded of the harsh reality of the regular season as the side fell 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday afternoon. With the rain coming down and the pitch practically underwater, the Timbers could not break down the stout San Jose defense.
In the waterlogged conditions the Timbers looked like the better side for much of the first half, pushing forward and creating a series of near-misses. In the 6th minute Lucas Melano almost opened the scoring, crashing a hard shot off the cross bar that 'Quakes keeper David Bingham could only wave at. Then, in the 12th minute, Diego Valeri came close as well, hitting a low, near post shot that Bingham was forced to push wide with a quick reaction save.
With the Timbers looking like the more likely side to score, of course it was San Jose who got on the board first in the 30th minute. The goal started as Darlington Nagbe drove at the San Jose box, only to be taken down to the turf by a slip in one of the huge puddles in the Avaya Stadium pitch. San Jose was quick to capitalize on the break in pressure, getting the ball down the pitch and eventually getting a quick, low cross into the box from Anibal Godoy. With Jermaine Taylor watching the ball, Chris Wondolowski slipped past the Timbers defender just in time to get a foot on the ball and redirect it around Adam Kwarasey for the opening goal.
The Timbers kept up their pressure as the game went on, but as first-half stoppage time wound down it was against the Quakes who struck. After dumping Nagbe to the turf while contesting a header, Quincy Amerikwa burst down the pitch, burning past Zarek Valentin and carrying the ball deep into Timbers territory. Spotting Kwarasey off his line, Amerikwa hit a long range shot that dipped perfectly over the Timbers' keeper and nestled just inside the upper corner of the goal in a moment that could only be met with disbelief from Timbers fans as the scoreboard ticked over to 2-0.
The Timbers came out swinging in the second half and again longed a ball off the woodwork in the 53rd minute. Valeri played Diego Chara into the San Jose box. Looking like he was going to cross, Chara instead hit a ball at the near post, tricking the keeper, but hitting the post rather than the back of the net.
With San Jose firmly on the back foot, the Timbers finally pulled one back in the 89th minute. As the side through everything at the bunkered in Earthquakes, a loose ball, knocked forward by Nat Borchers, fell to Jack McInerney in the San Jose box. With defenders behind him and Bingham in front, McInerney put a simple touch on the ball, sending it up and over the Quakes keeper and bouncing lazily into the goal.
The equalizer would not come, however, and 94 minutes into the match Jair Marrufo blew the final whistle.
The Timbers return home for their next match, hosting Real Salt Lake on Saturday at Providence Park.