Matchday Preview: Portland looks to shut down Wondo's quest for Lassiter's mark in finale with San Jose
The Portland Timbers say goodbye to their Rose City faithful in their 2012 season finale when they take on Supporters’ Shield winners San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers come off a 1-0 win at Vancouver last weekend that secured the Cascadia Cup for the club. While the Quakes are secure in holding the top seed for the MLS Cup Playoffs, now all eyes will be on striker Chris Wondolowski and his chase of the single season goalscoring record, netting his 26th last week in a 2-2 home draw with the LA Galaxy.
The Portland Timbers put an end to their overall and road winless streaks, knocking off Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 on Sunday afternoon at BC Place. The Timbers are in eighth place in the Western Conference with 33 points from 33 games.
- The game's only goal came in the 39th minute. Taking a pass laid off by Franck Songo'o, Jack Jewsbury hit a screamer from all of 25 yards out into the top right corner past Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who had no chance.
- Timbers interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson made three changes to the side that dropped a 3-0 decision to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field, all in the back four. Kosuke Kimura, Hanyer Mosquera and Steven Smith all came into the team, in place of Lovel Palmer, David Horst and Rodney Wallace.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Kosuke Kimura, Hanyer Mosquera (Eric Brunner 48), David Horst, Steven Smith - Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara - Sal Zizzo, Franck Songo'o (Rodney Wallace 67), Darlington Nagbe - Bright Dike (Danny Mwanga 85).
WATCH: Jewsbury’s rocket sinks Vancouver
• The victory gave the Cascadia Cup to the Timbers, the fan-organized competition between the three Pacific Northwest clubs.
• “It’s tremendous for the fans. They thoroughly deserve it, everything aside it’s something that they thoroughly deserved,” said interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson. “It’s been a long season for them and it’s been a long season for the organization, and while this doesn’t remove some of the things that have happened over the course of the season, it’s a positive and it’s something we can take into next season.”
• With the victory, the Timbers avoided becoming the fifth team in MLS history to go winless on the road over an entire season – and also avoided joining Vancouver, which did not win on the road last season, the inaugural MLS campaign for both clubs.
• “There were multiple reasons we wanted to come in here and get the win tonight, we didn’t want to go down in history as one of the teams in MLS that hadn’t gotten a road win all year so we accomplished that,” said Jack Jewsbury. “But first and foremost we wanted to win the Cascadia Cup – that means a lot not only for us but for our fans and the organization and to get that here in front of our fans that travelled to watch the game means a lot.”
• The Timbers also snapped their winless run at six games, avoiding matching their season-high, when they went 0-5-2 from July 14 to Aug. 9.
• “After all the struggles we had this season on the road, we were able to get that win at the end and we didn’t become one of those five MLS teams not to get a road win,” said midfielder Sal Zizzo. “We were able to pull it out and at the same time win the Cascadia Cup so we were pretty happy about that.”
• Jewsbury scored his third goal of the season, his second from outside the penalty area.
• “[He] deserved that goal, he’s had a great season in many ways, and he’s been a good captain for the group. So for him to score, for him to get the group to really believe in what we were doing going into this game and into the second half, it was tremendous for the group,” said Wilkinson.
• With three changes in the back four from the previous match, the Timbers kept just their second clean sheet since mid-May in league play.
• “Obviously we’ve struggled on the road all year. We were constantly going on in training about how this needs to change, how it should change, how this would send a message going into next season and we’ve addressed a lot of the demons as such. So we were very, very nervous. Our backline I thought was tremendous,” said Wilkinson.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes extended their unbeaten run to eight games in their final home game of the regular season, twice coming back before ending in a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy on Sunday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes lead the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 67 points from 33 games.
- The Galaxy took the lead in the 59th minute, with a play started and finished by Robbie Keane. The Irish international sprung Edson Buddle loose on the left wing, and the return cross bounced off two Quakes defenders and dropped down for Keane to jam home at the edge of the six-yard box.
- San Jose responded in the 61st minute with a beautiful 25-yard free kick from Marvin Chavez, who bent his effort from the left over the wall and tucked it just inside the near post.
- The Galaxy nosed back in front in the 69th minute when Edson Buddle outjumped Victor Bernardez to knock home a relatively simple header off Sean Franklin’s deep right-wing cross.
- But the Quakes tied things up with another set-piece strike in the 73rd minute. Chávez delivered a corner into a teeming Galaxy box, where Chris Wondolowski stooped to flick home a header past goalkeeper Josh Saunders for his 26th goal of the season.
- Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made two changes to the team that strolled to a 4-1 win against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Victor Bernardez returned from suspension for the suspended Jason Hernandez, and Simon Dawkins started in place of Alan Gordon.
- SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Justin Morrow, Victor Bernardez, Ramiro Corrales (Ike Opara 73) - Marvin Chavez (Khari Stephenson 83), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Simon Dawkins (Shea Salinas 66) - Steven Lenhart, Chris Wondolowski.
• The day before the match, the Earthquakes clinched the Supporters’ Shield with the best overall regular-season record, following Sporting KC’s 0-0 draw at New York.
• “It’s a season’s worth of celebration,” said forward Chris Wondolowski. “The fact that we finished best in the league in the regular season says a lot about this team. It’s a hard thing to do. I’m proud of these guys.”
• It’s the second Supporters’ Shield in club history, the first coming in 2005, the year before the original club transferred to Houston.
• “Coaches or other players are going to say whatever they want to say, but we’ve proven throughout the season that we’re best team in the league. We’ve just got to prove it again in the playoffs,” said Ramiro Corrales.
• Wondolowski scored his 26th goal of the season, one behind the all-time record set by Roy Lassiter in the league’s inaugural season of 1996.
• “It was a big goal for our team, most importantly. The goal put us in a position to leave here with a point,” said Wondolowski. “I don’t think too much about the record, but it was special to see Roy [Lassiter] in attendance to show his support. It's an honor for me to be within one goal of sharing this record with him. My mind frame going into Portland will remain the same, which is to perform my best for my team and work for a win.”
• Once again, Wondolowski has gotten hot over the final weeks of the season, with eight goals in his last six games. A year ago, Wondolowski scored eight goals over his final nine games, after netting 12 in the final 13 games in 2010.
• For a second consecutive game, Marvín Chavez recorded both a goal and an assist, scoring his third goal of the season and adding his 12th assist, tied for fourth in MLS.
• There could be yet another rematch ahead with the Galaxy, in the Western Conference Semifinals – the Galaxy will face Vancouver in the Knockout Round match, the winner getting the top seed Quakes. The teams have faced each other four times previously in postseason competition, including MLS Cup 2001 (won in extra time by San Jose).
• “They always play us tough and although we are both in the playoffs, they came in here hungry for three points. I can’t say enough about my teammates who were able to respond when they needed to. We’ve been doing it all year long, and to win the season series against the Galaxy is special,” said Wondolowski.
• After seeing each part of his center back partnership suspended in the last two matches, Frank Yallop will have his entire corps of defenders available for the Portland match, including Ike Opara, who has returned to full training after playing in the last reserve match.
• “Hopefully everyone’s healthy and fit and ready to go that I want to use,” Yallop said. “Will this weekend be a dress rehearsal of what we’re going to do in the playoffs? Maybe.”
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: David Gantar
MLS Career: 103 games; FC/gm: 26.5; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 26; pens: 35
PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Eric Brunner (R ankle surgery); DF Futty Danso (L lateral meniscectomy); DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery); DOUBTFUL: DF Ian Hogg (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Kris Boyd (R adductor strain); DF Hanyer Mosquera (R IT band syndrome) …
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Mehdi Ballouchy (L knee ACL tear); MF Jacob Hustedt (L ankle surgery); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury); QUESTIONABLE: MF Cesar Diaz Pizarro (R groin strain); PROBABLE: FW Alan Gordon (R ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, Franck Songo’o … SJ: Marvin Chavez
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 6 goals … Earthquakes 0 wins, 5 goals … Ties 3
AT PORTLAND (2 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 3 goals … Earthquakes 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1
2012 (MLS): 7/3: POR 2, SJ 1 (Mwanga 29, Jewsbury 59 – Gordon 74); 9/22: SJ 2, POR 2 (Wondolowski 73, 92 -- Mwanga 45, 62)
• The teams are meeting for the third time this year. Goals from Danny Mwanga and Jack Jewsbury sent the Timbers on their way to a 2-1 win July 3 at Jeld-Wen Field, then Chris Wondolowski scored twice, including the equalizer in stoppage-time, offsetting two Mwanga goals, to pull the Earthquakes back into a 2-2 draw Sept. 22 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
• The Timbers win in the first meeting was the first by either team in the all-time series.
• The teams played to a pair of 1-1 draws in league play in the Timbers’ inaugural MLS season. They also met in the U.S. Open Cup, the Quakes winning 1-0 in a play-in game in Portland.
• Coaches record: Frank Yallop v POR: P4 W0 L1 D3 … Gavin Wilkinson vs. SJ: P1 W0 L0 D1
• The Timbers opened the scoring in the 45th minute. Danny Mwanga and Rodney Wallace played a one-two in the middle of a stretched-out San Jose defense, Mwanga receiving the through ball, avoiding converging defenders and rounding goalkeeper Jon Busch to slide the ball into the empty net.
• Mwanga hit for his second in the 62nd minute, with a crackling 25-yard blast across the face of goal to the right upper corner. The play was set up by a 40-yard run through the midfield by Franck Songo’o, who slid the ball to Mwanga on the left.
• The Quakes began their fightback in the 73rd minute. Substitute Alan Gordon flicked on a long lead pass, and Steven Lenhart got a sliding touch on it to free another substitute, Chris Wondolowski, and he converted with his left foot from 16 yards.
• Then, as they have done all season, the Earthquakes hit for the winner in stoppage time. Sam Cronin flighted in a cross from deep on the left, and after an attempted clearance by Portland defender Hanyer Mosquera fell to Wondolowski, he nodded home an open header at the back point to rescue the point.
• SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara, Victor Bernardez, Justin Morrow - Mehdi Ballouchy (Chris Wondolowski 58), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca (Alan Gordon 63), Ramiro Corrales - Simon Dawkins - Steven Lenhart.
• PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Lovel Palmer (Kosuke Kimura 83), Hanyer Mosquera, David Horst, Steven Smith - Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace, Jack Jewsbury, Franck Songo'o - Danny Mwanga (Eric Brunner 85), Kris Boyd (Bright Dike 18).