Earthquakes fell Timbers 2-1
SAN JOSE, Calif. The San Jose Earthquakes built a two-goal lead and hung on for a 2-1 victory Saturday night over the Portland Timbers.
San Jose scored in the 55th and 58th minutes, as Portland surrendered more than one goal for the first time wince June 8.
Darlington Nagbe scored his sixth goal of the year in the 83rd minute, but the Timbers who recorded a season road-high 20 shots wound up with their third loss of the MLS season.
The Timbers played the final five minutes with a man advantage after two quick yellow cards on San Jose midfielder Marvin Chavez.
Midfielder Diego Valeri got his team-best seventh assist on Nagbe;s tally, and Frederic Piquionne boosted his assist total to five on the play.
San Jose took the lead on a penalty kick by defender Victor Bernardez, after a foul on Portland defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste.
Midfielder Shea Salinas then beat Portland goalie Donovan Ricketts and the defense with a free kick that found forward Steven Lenhart for a sliding shot that made it 2-0 for the Quakes.
The announced crowd at Buck Shaw Stadium on the Santa Clara University campus was 10,525.
Losses by Real Salt Lake, the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps mitigated the damage to the Timbers and kept Portland well within striking distance of first place in the MLS Western Conference.
Colorado beat L.A. 2-0, New York stopped RSL 4-3 and Philadelphia downed Vancouver 1-0.
Through Saturday, RSL had the top spot with 37 points 22 games (11-7-4), while the Colorado Rapids and Timbers shared second place with 34 points apiece but Colorado (9-7-7) had played 23 games and Portland (8-3-10) had played 21. L.A. was fourth at 33 points in 22 games (10-9-3), and Vancouver (9-7-5) and FC Dallas (8-5-8) shared fifth with 32 points in 21 games each.
San Jose kept its playoff hopes alive, improving to 27 points in 22 matches and going to 7-9-6, good for seventh in the West, where five clubs will advance to the postseason.
Portland coach Caleb Porter debated the call that gave San Jose its PK.
"I'm not sure if the foul was in the box. It seemed out," he said. "Most refs probably call that out when it's borderline."
Porter also didn't like the refereeing on San Jose's second goal.
"The free kick was clearly offside," he said. "Btut we're not the only team to get the raw end of calls this year."
Porter said the Timbers had "far more quality chances" than the Earthquakes.
"But we've got to finish," he said.
And, "on the defensive side, we had a few lapses."
But, "if you look at the overall performance, it's not like we got outplayed," he said.
The Timbers have another big conference game on Saturday. They will play host to Vancouver at Jeld-Wen Field at 8 p.m.