In their best offensive night in a long time, the Portland Timbers routed the San Jose Earthquakes 6-1 at Earthquake Stadium. Five different Timbers scored on the night, while Diego Valeri earned a brace in the process.
The Timbers made some interesting adjustments to the lineups for the second match. They brought back in usual starters Valeri and Jeremy Ebobisse, but also moved Eryk Williamson to the bench. Ebobisse got to play in his natural position as a striker, while Tomas Conechny came in to take the wing spot. The Timbers also moved Steve Clark to the bench, giving Aljaz Ivacic his first career start.
In a stark contrast to the last match, the Timbers came out as the aggressors to start the game, forcing turnovers and finding early opportunities at the goal. San Jose seemed to be allowing Portland slightly more space to operate compared to Wednesday night when they hounded Portland every inch of the way. The Timbers changed their strategy up and tried to stay wide to stretch the Quakes’ defense out.
Portland seemed to be making a concerted effort to get more chances at the goal. They had plenty of chances early, including an Ebobisse shot from the top of the box in the third minute and a straight shot from Christian Paraedes, but despite the aggression nothing was coming to fruition.
That finally changed in the 25th minute. San Jose’s Tanner Beason was called for the handball in the 23rd minute inside the box. Valeri, as per usual, stepped up to take the penalty shot and lined it right into the bottom-left corner for his 20th career penalty goal — tied for fifth most in league history. A flurry of car horns couldn’t distract The Maestro as he made it 1-0 Timbers.
Portland didn’t wait long to get on the board again. Ebobisse — back in his number nine position — saw the beautiful cross from Jorge Villafana and rose above the Quakes’ defense to head the ball into the back of the goal. That gave him his eighth headed goal of his Timbers career, the most in the club’s MLS history. Not a bad way to earn your fifth goal of the season and give your team a 2-0 lead.
Portland kept the pressure on the entire half. The Timbers offense continuously made life difficult for the Quakes’ back line. Portland had 10 shots by the end of the half. They had six in total on Wednesday.
Ivacic had his shining moment in the 42nd minute. San Jose was looking dangerous in the box when the header from Nick Lima set up a header from Carlos Fierro. Ivacic had other plans, however, as he denied Fierro twice to prevent the goal. The ball found its way back to Lima just outside the six-yard box, but his shot was also no good thanks to the quick-twitch reaction from Ivacic.
Unfortunately, that magic didn’t last. Fierro took a cross from Marcos Lopez and launched it from the top of the box into the top-right corner of the net, making it 2-1 Portland. The goal gave the Quakes a jolt of energy as they started pushing forward in hopes of an equalizer. That equalizer would not come, as the Timbers held their lead going into halftime.
The Timbers made one sub at the half, bringing in Yimmi Chara for Conechny, who was experiencing shoulder pain. They had a scary moment in the 48th minute when Diego Valeri left the game temporarily with a face injury. Florian Jungwirth attempted to challenge a ball coming down on Valeri and kicked the Argentinian square in the chin. Valeri was down for several minutes before exiting the game, but eventually he returned with a big bandage on his chin.
But a shot to the face couldn’t stop Valeri from getting shots in the goal. In 57th minute, he took a cutback from Diego Chara at the top of the box and let it fly. The ball bounced off two San Jose defenders before finding its way to the back of the net, giving Valeri the brace and the Timbers a 3-1 lead.
The Timbers really took control of the game in the 70th minute. Ebobisse dribbled his way for a nice shot that was unfortunately deflected. But fear not, for Yimmi Chara was right there to clean up the mess. Chara jumped on the deflected shot and sent it nice and easy into the net for his second career MLS goal and second in two games. The Timbers led 4-1.
It was already a dominant night for the Timbers. But, as you may know, the Timbers have had a problem conceding late goals. To counter that, the Timbers decided they better score two more times, just in case. First, Valeri took a corner kick and soared it perfectly into the box. The ball found its way to Julio Cascante, who headed the ball in for his first goal with the club.
The final goal came from Jarek Niezgoda, who subbed in for Ebobisse in the 82nd minute. The Polish striker took the feed from Diego Chara and finished the shot to make it 6-1 Portland. The score would stay that way as the Timbers earned their second win since the restart of the MLS regular season.
Portland won’t have to wait too long for the next match: They’ll take on the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday. Start time is set for 7:00 p.m. PT.