The Portland Timbers came back from a one goal deficit to prevail in a 2-1 victory over the visiting San Jose Earthquakes at Providence Park on Saturday night. Benjamin Kikanovic opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half, and Jaroslaw Niezgoda got the Timbers back in it in the second half after deflecting a Diego Chara shot into the goal. Dairon Asprilla grabbed the winner off a towering header in the 71st minute, as Portland’s unbeaten streak reached seven games.
With Sebastian Blanco suspended due to yellow card accumulation, the Timbers turned to Marvin Loria and Dairon Asprilla to try to help keep the offense potent.
Portland came out of the gates aggressive, getting off two early shots. But the first half eventually settled into a bit of a slower state of affairs, with Portland struggling to create many good looks on goal. It was the Earthquakes in fact who mustered more shots on target, and were it not for a few spectacular saves from Aljaz Ivacic the Timbers would have found themselves trailing much earlier in the game.
But in the end it was indeed San Jose who found the net first in the 42nd minute, as Benjamin Kikanovic was the first to clean up a the mess after a scramble in the Timbers’ box, and he scored a rebound to make it 1-0 Earthquakes. That was the scoreline as the half ended, and Portland found themselves trailing at home at halftime yet again.
With the introduction of Cristhian Paredes at the half, Portland’s offense started to find more life. It came to fruition in the 53rd minute, when a Diego Chara rocket took a deflection off of Jaroslaw Niezgoda, and the ball found its way into the back of the net to make it one-all.
Portland continued their offensive determination after their equalizer, with Santiago Moreno proving to be the key catalyst. He served up a beauty of a ball to Dairon Asprilla at the back post in the 71st minute, and Asprilla made no mistake as he powered home the eventual winner.
Behind a strong game from Aljaz Ivacic, the Timbers stretched their unbeaten run to seven games. Their win also see them finally rise above the playoff line, continuing their strong summer surge.
- 1’ The Timbers had an immediate early chance, as Marvin Loria sent an attempt from the top of the box over the bar.
- 4’ Dairon Asprilla was the next one to have a rip, as he fired an attempt from distance wide of the goal.
- 9’ Aljaz Ivacic made a great last-minute diving save to stop San Jose’s first attempt on goal.
- 14’ Asprilla again had a go from distance— almost exactly the same spot as before— and his attempt missed wide— almost exactly the same result as before.
- 24’ Josecarlos Van Rankin had a shot from distance that was deflected high into the box, and Asprilla rose to meet it. His attempt was just over the bar, however.
- 27’ Ivacic with another highlight reel save, as he pushed a point-blank free header over the bar and out.
- 39’ Josecarlos Van Rankin was shown a yellow card for a late foul...
- 40’ ... and then Yimmi Chara was shown a yellow card for a late foul....
- 41’ ... and then Claudio Bravo was shown a yellow card for (you guessed it) a late foul. That made it three Timbers players being shown caution cards within a two minute timespan.
- 42’ GOAL San Jose 0-1. After a set piece routine for the visitors, Ivacic got a hand to an initial attempt on goal. Kikanovic was the first to get to the rebound, and he knocked home the opener to make it a one goal deficit for the Timbers.
The half ended with Portland heading into the break down a goal, and searching for answers on offense. They mustered no shots on target, while the visitors managed to get five shots on frame.
- 45’ Cristhian Paredes came on for Marvin Loria at the half, in an attempt to help jumpstart Portland’s attack.
- 50’ Paredes earned a free kick at the top of the box. He took the ensuing kick himself, but it was off the San Jose wall of defenders.
- 53’ GOAL TIMBERS 1-1. Williamson and Diego Chara had a great little interplay outside the box, ending in Chara firing a shot from distance. The ball deflected off of Jaroslaw Niezgoda’s back on the way towards the goal, and flew past the San Jose ‘keeper and into the back of the net. The goal was awarded to Niezgoda, and Portland had found their equalizer.
- 59’ Santiago Moreno subbed into the game, replacing Eryk Williamson.
- 67’ Dairon Asprilla was shown a yellow card for what appeared to be a late foot that was left in while challenging for the ball.
- 71’ GOAL TIMBERS 2-1. After an intense period of offensive pressure from the Timbers, Moreno found space at the outskirts of the box. He lofted a ball towards the back post, and Dairon Asprilla rose above his man to power his header past the goalkeeper and into the net.
- 74’ Yimmi Chara tried an attempt from distance, but it was always rising.
- 76’ Double-change for the Timbers, as Bill Tuiloma replaced Van Rankin and Felipe Mora replaced Asprilla.
- 86’ It was Ivacic again to the rescue, as he parried away a close-range shot.
- 87’ Mora had a flicked shot on goal saved just off the line.
- 89’ Ivacic got a fingernail to a San Jose shot from distance, doing just enough to push it wide and off the post.
- 90’+5 David Ayala subbed on for Niezgoda.
After a somewhat nervy and extended end to the game, the final whistle blew and the Timbers emerged 2-1 victors. It was the first time this season that Portland came back from a losing position to win a game.
The Timbers will hit the road next, and face off against Minnesota United away next Saturday July 30, at 12pm PT.