In what proved to be yet another very strange match, the Portland Timbers drew the San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 at Providence Park. Felipe Mora scored for the Timbers while Javier “La Chofis” Lopez scored for the Galaxy.
The Timbers, while not back to full strength, got a boost to their numbers with the return of a few players. Most notably, Eryk Williamson was available off the bench after an exciting run with the U.S. Men’s National Team and Claudio Bravo was back after playing with Argentina in the Olympics. The most notable absence was Jeremy Ebobisse. The reason why? He was reportedly traded to San Jose before the match. You can read that story here.
It was a fairly back-and-forth event offensively to start the match. San Jose got moving quick and was able to create some set piece opportunities to put themselves in good scoring position. They also worked the sidelines early and often in hopes of making the critical cross into the goal.
The Timbers didn’t look half-bad themselves. Their movement was strong in the attack as they looked to come out in a 4-1-4-1. Felipe Mora and Yimmi Chara in particular had multiple dangerous moments, but neither were able to capitalize early.
The Earthquakes got just about the easiest opportunity they could and made no mistake. Cristian Espinoza took a long ball and sent a cross into the box that Steve Clark tried to collect. But disaster struck as Clark spilled the cross. Javier “La Chofis” Lopez was right in front of Clark and took full advantage of the keeper’s mistake.
The injury bug struck the Timbers in the 38th minute. Clark, who had been eyeing the bench and indicating that something was off, went down in that minute after pointing to his leg. Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese confirmed at halftime that Clark had pulled his groin. Aljaz Ivacic replaced Clark officially in the 40th minute.
From the injury to the goal allowed, it was a tough first half for the Timbers. However, it ended in exciting fashion. Six minutes into extra time in the first half, the Timbers earned a set piece. Yimmi Chara took the kick and launched it into the box. Bill Tuiloma headed it perfectly to Mora, who flicked it into the goal to make it 1-1. If there’s one thing Mora loves, it’s waiting till the waning moments of a half to score.
The Timbers made a sub early on in the second half. Eryk Williamson made his return to the pitch for the Timbers, subbing in at the half. He helped immediately, being the great all-around player Portland desperately needed. He put pressure on San Jose and helped with the offense as well.
Portland was on the offensive for most of the second half. They alternated gracefully between pushing with speed and slowly building up to an attack. Sebastian Blanco subbed in during the second half and also helped the offense greatly. But despite the great chances generated, the Timbers once again failed early to finish the opportunities.
For just the second time in his career, Diego Chara was ejected from a match after earning two yellows just a few minutes apart. The second yellow was given after Chara appeared to step on top of the foot of a San Jose player. He was promptly shown the yellow, followed by the red. It was one of several yellow cards handed out towards the end of the match and seemed to spark significant tension between the two sides, with even more yellow cards given after the match.
The Timbers looked like the better team most of the second half. They played their crosses pretty well, had some quality underlapping runs, and generally looked like the better team. But no extra goals would be scored in this one. The Timbers tied San Jose 1-1.
Portland will be back in action on Saturday, Aug. 7 for their match against Real Salt Lake. The match will kick off at 7:30 p.m.