SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Portland Timbers kept pace in the Western Conference playoff chase with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium. Rodney Wallace scored both Timbers’ goals over a three minute span midway through the second half after Chris Wondolowski had opened the scoring for San Jose.
With the Vancouver Whitecaps winning their match against FC Dallas 2-0 earlier in the day, Portland's win keeps them just one point behind the Caps for the last playoff spot in the West. For San Jose, the loss stretched the Earthquakes’ winless streak to 11 games, and eliminated them from playoff consideration in 2014.
Portland was playing without their two of their starting midfielders, with Diego Valeri serving a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation, and Will Johnson out for the rest of the season with a fractured leg.
Both teams struggled to create quality chances in the opening half, though Portland held the majority of possession. Portland’s Darlington Nagbe was open from point blank range early, but hit his shot right at Jon Busch, who pushed it over the crossbar.
San Jose’s best chance came when Donovan Ricketts couldn’t handle Sam Cronin’s long range shot cleanly, and the rebound fell to Wondolowski, who missed wide from a tight angle.
In first half stoppage time, a Gastón Fernández corner kick found Liam Ridgewell at the far post for an open header, but Busch was able to deflect his shot off the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.
San Jose broke through in the 56th minute, when Shea Salinas served up a pass to Wondolowski inside the six. Ricketts made the first save at point blank range, but the relentless Wondolowski easily knocked in the rebound to put the Earthquakes on top.
The goal was Wondolowski’s 14th of the season, and he now has nine goals and four assists in 15 games since returning from World Cup duty.
But Wallace answered for Portland 15 minutes later, spinning to hit a shot from 15 yards that was deflected on its way towards goal. And two minutes later, Wallace struck again, redirecting in a Ridgewell header with a deflection off his own head to give the Timbers a lead they would not relinquish.
San Jose tried to scratch out an equalizer late, but Ricketts denied Wondolowski from close range, then later hung on to Atiba Harris’ header.
In second half stoppage time, San Jose’s Pablo Pintos earned a red card for clattering into Wallace with a dangerous tackle to end San Jose’s night on a sour note.
The Earthquakes have missed the playoffs in consecutive years after winning the Supporters' Shield in 2012.
With the win, Portland’s record rises to 10-9-12. With three games left on the schedule, the Timbers own the first tiebreaker advantage over Vancouver (wins, 10-9) and also the second tie breaker (goal differential, Portland is +4), but still remain a point shy of their Cascadia rivals.
Portland and San Jose both head north for a rematch Wednesday night at Providence Park.
Portland Timbers (10-9-12, 42pts) at San Jose Earthquakes (6-13-11, 29pts)
Oct. 4, 2014 – Buck Shaw Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 0 2 2
San Jose Earthquakes 0 1 1
SJ: Wondolowski, 56
POR: Wallace (Powell), 71
POR: Wallace (Ridgewell, Fernández), 74
SJ: Hernandez (Caution), 21
POR: Wallace (Caution), 78
SJ: Pintos (Ejection), 90+3
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Powell, D Paparatto, D Ridgewell ©, D Villafaña, M Nagbe (Harrington, 90), M Chara, M Zemanski, M Wallace, F Fernández (Jewsbury, 81), F Adi (Urruti, 87)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gleeson, M Alhassan, M Nanchoff
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Ridgewell, Wallace, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Wallace, 2); FOULS: 17 (Chara, 5); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 5
SJ: GK Busch, D Pintos, D Bernárdez, D Hernandez, D Stewart, M Cato (Thompson, 88), M Cronin, M Pierazzi (Harris, 82), M Salinas (M Djaló, 67), F Pѐrez Garcia, F Wondolowski ©
Substitutes Not Used: GK Meredith, D Harden, M Koval, M Stephenson
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Wondolowski, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Wondolowski, 2); FOULS: 14 (Wondolowski, 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 5
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Mike Rottersman, Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:55
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial