The Portland Timbers returned home to Providence Park in style tonight, beating a ten man San Jose Earthquakes side 2-0 thanks to a Diego Valeri brace.
The Timbers poured it on in the early going and that pressure was telling as the Earthquakes looked to mix it up and disrupt the home side, only to find themselves pinned back and without opportunities to break down the pitch.
The Quakes’ rough an tumble style in a typically chippy match did not serve the visitors well, however, as midfielder Darwin Ceren was sent off in the 37th minute thanks to a pair of back to back yellow cards. First, in the 34th minute Ceren went hard into David Guzman from behind after a series of fouls against the Timbers midfielder from San Jose captain Chris Wondolowski. Ceren then completed the set in the 37th minute after he cut off Sebastian Blanco and appeared to stamp on his foot in the process. The call drew the ire of the Quakes, who crowded around referee Kevin Stott, but the call was final and the Timbers were up a man.
From there the pressure only increased from the home side and in the final minutes of the first half it looked like the Timbers had their break through. In the second minute of first half stoppage time, the Timbers had pinned the Earthquakes back and with a moment to survey the pitch, Diego Chara clipped a ball toward the far post of the San Jose goal. Making a run in the box, Blanco peeled off the back shoulder of his man, heading the ball back across the face of goal and finding Fanendo Adi in front of net. With only San Jose keeper David Bingham to beat, Adi went for the far post with a header of his own, only to see the ball bounce off the woodwork and eventually into the arms of Bingham.
The opener was coming soon, however, and the Timbers would not have to wait long in the second half to get it. In the 50th minute Zarek Valentin hit a hard, centering pass into the path of Valeri, bursting down the pitch. Valeri chested the ball down into his path and, with San Jose full back Cordell Cato breathing down his neck, got a boot to the ball. Bingham dove for the save, but Valeri’s shot was placed perfectly and bounced off the inside of the post on its way into the back of the net, giving the Timbers a 1-0 lead.
Now down a goal, the Earthquakes found themselves needing to push forward and, unlike in the first half, the visitors had some luck putting the Timbers under pressure. Starting with a 54th minute shot from Chris Wondolowski that was blocked away in the Timbers box, the chances began to come for San Jose.
The momentum would swing back in the Timbers favor as the match progressed and the side were able to retake possession, holding the ball for long stretches as the match continued.
Finally, in second half stoppage time, the Timbers got their second. With San Jose committing men forward, Chara got on the ball and carried it forward before slipping a ball to Adi on the edge of the Earthquakes box. Adi touched the ball forward, past his defender, then snapped off a shot at the far post only to see it carom off the woodwork for the second time this match. This time, however, Valeri was on hand and ready, connecting with the rebound and knocking it home into the open net to give the Timbers the 3-0 lead.
The Timbers play again next Saturday, June 10th, hosting FC Dallas for their second match up of the season. Tonight’s win moves the Timbers into third place in the West and guarantees that the side will finish the weekend in at least fourth.