Portland Preseason Tournament Preview: San Jose

Few changes from Supporters' Shield-winning season in 2012 could spell success for Earthquakes

10.27.12 San Jose Earthquakes at Portland

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Back from a preseason stint in Tucson, Ariz., the Portland Timbers now gear up for their second annual preseason tournament at JELD-WEN Field with the San Jose Earthqukes, FC Dallas, and Sweden's AIK all in attendance. Taking place on Feb. 17, 20 and 23, each day includes a double-header of matches with all teams playing each other once in a round-robin format. Tickets start at $10.00.

This week in the lead up to the matches, PortlandTimbers.com will take a look at each of the Timbers' upcoming opponents, see what changes have been made since last season, and what to keep an eye on when they come to Portland. First up is San Jose.

There was a lot for San Jose Earthquakes fans to be proud of last season: Lifting the Supporters’ Shield and earning a berth to the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League, forward Chris Wondolowski netting the MLS Golden Boot and tying the league’s single-season record with 27 goals and returning to the MLS Cup Playoffs. The 2012 MLS season was a big year for San Jose. The ‘Quakes ran through the regular season as Wondolowski, a resurgent Alan Gordon (13 goals) and Steven Lenhart (10) helped the club rack up an eye-popping 72 goals, 13 more than the second-place LA Galaxy (59). A meeting with the experienced Galaxy in the Western Conference Semifinals, however, saw San Jose crash out of the playoffs 3-2 on aggregate.

The promising news around the Bay Area is that head coach Frank Yallop’s club remains largely unchanged from last season, except for the transfer deadline deal that saw attacking midfielder Simon Dawkins (8 goals, 1 assist) sent on loan from parent club Tottenham Hotspur to Aston Villa for the remainder of the English Premier League season. With Dawkins gone, San Jose will miss a certain flair in midfield, but with the bulk of the team returning for the 2013 season and with several intriguing trialists in preseason training camp, the Earthquakes once again could challenge for the top spot in the Western Conference if its attacking core comes out firing on all cylinders.

The squad’s depth will be tested throughout the year in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League, U.S. Open Cup and the potential of players joining up with the U.S. National Team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying.

2012 MLS Season
Record (W-L-T): 19-6-9, 66pts (First in Western Conference, Supporters’ Shield winners)
Record vs. Portland in 2012: 0-1-2
2012 Playoffs: Lost in the Western Conference semifinals against LA Galaxy (3-2 aggregate)
Top Goals: Chris Wondolowski (27); MLS Golden Boot winner
Top Assists: Marvin Chavez (13)
Head coach: Frank Yallop

2013 MLS Preseason Results
Record: 3-2-0
Jan. 29 – 2-0 W vs. Houston Dynamo (at Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, Ariz.)
Feb. 2 – 0-1 L vs. Colorado Rapids (at Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, Ariz.)
Feb. 9 – 0-1 L vs. Chicago Fire (at Harder Stadium, Goleta, Calif.)
Feb. 11 – 2-1 W vs. Ventura County Fusion (Oxnard Community College, Oxnard, Calif.)
Feb. 12 – 4-0 W vs. Ventura County Fusion (Oxnard Community College, Oxnard, Calif.)

The Earthquakes kicked off the preseason with two matches in southern Arizona as 20-year-old trialist Alexandre Gonzalez Emerson bagged a brace against the Houston Dynamo, but the club then suffered back-to-back 1-0 losses against Colorado and Chicago before stringing together two straight wins against the Ventura Country Fusion. Wondolowski and defender Justin Morrow made their preseason debuts on Feb. 9, starting and playing 55 minutes in a loss against Chicago, as Frank Yallop’s lineups have heavily featured trialists and draft picks throughout the preseason.

2013 Timbers Preseason Tournament Schedule
Feb. 17 vs. Portland (5:00pm PT, streamed at www.portlandtimbers.com)
Feb. 20 vs. AIK (5:00pm PT, streamed at www.portlandtimbers.com)
Feb. 23 vs. FC Dallas (2:30pm PT, streamed at www.portlandtimbers.com)