The Portland Timbers snapped out of their slump with a stunning
and decisive upset. They’ll try to keep their momentum going
against a team still mired in one.
The Timbers will attempt to win consecutive games for the first
time in three months Saturday night against the San Jose
Earthquakes, who will try to avoid matching their longest winless
skid in team history.
Portland (7-10-4) had one victory in its previous 10 games
before Wednesday’s matchup against the league-leading Los Angeles
Galaxy, who hadn’t lost in 14 straight MLS contests. Even worse,
captain and leading scorer Jack Jewsbury was scratched with a
strained hamstring, and forward Eddie Johnson suffered a concussion
when he was struck in the head with a ball in pregame warm-ups.
The Timbers put all that aside to snap the Galaxy’s run with a
3-0 win that included a goal from Mike Chabala, who was acquired in
a trade with Houston on July 21.
“You have to come out pretty confident,” said defender Eric
Brunner, who scored the final goal. “We did that tonight, put in
good work and were rewarded.”
That confidence hasn’t followed the expansion club on the road,
where it’s 1-6-2 during its inaugural campaign. The Timbers,
however, earned that lone win July 16 – 1-0 over Chicago – before
falling on a late goal the following week in Columbus.
They might have a chance to earn another win against the
Earthquakes (5-8-9), who are on their longest winless skid since a
10-game stretch from Sept. 8, 2004-April 16, 2005. The franchise
was placed on hiatus after that 2005 campaign. Its players and
coaches eventually moved to Houston before the Earthquakes resumed
play in 2008.
San Jose’s 2-0 loss to D.C. United last Saturday extended its
home winless streak to five matches (0-1-4). The Earthquakes have
been shut out in back-to-back games and seven of nine.
Chris Wondolowski, who has a team-best eight goals, has scored
two of his team’s four goals during the winless streak. The forward
is set to play in his 100th MLS game Saturday, while Steven
Lenhart, second on the team with five goals, is on an indefinite
leave of absence for personal reasons.
The team’s third-leading goal scorer, Simon Dawkins (four), is
questionable with a strained right hamstring. That’s why San Jose
is hoping to add to its roster in the coming weeks.
“A creative player is what we’re lacking,” coach Frank Yallop
told the team’s official website. “We’ve got some key guys that
have been missing, so we’ve got to try to just bolster the squad a
little bit. … Hopefully we can add someone.”
Jewsbury, meanwhile, is expected to return to his spot in the
midfield, and Johnson is also expected to be available.
Portland has won back-to-back MLS games twice this season, first
from April 14-17 and April 30-May 6.