Tumbling Timbers aim to end skid vs. Earthquakes (Jun 02, 2017)
The Portland Timbers and visiting San Jose Earthquakes meet Friday night at Providence Park in a matchup that features two struggling teams separated by only one point in the Western Conference.
San Jose is fourth with 19 points and a 5-5-4 record, including 2-4-1 on the road. Portland is one point behind with a 5-5-3 overall mark and 3-1-2 at home.
The clubs are coming off difficult losses. The Timbers lost 1-0 at Seattle on Sunday, extending their winless streak to five matches. The Earthquakes are 1-2-1 in their four matches since beating the Timbers 3-0 at Avaya Stadium on May 6.
After San Jose handed FC Dallas its first loss of the season at Toyota Stadium on May 20, the Earthquakes were defeated by the LA Galaxy 4-2 at home on Saturday night.
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter tried to stay positive after Portland's hard-fought loss at Seattle.
"It's undeniable to me that we were the better team on the day," Porter said. "You look at every category, in terms of chances, possession, any metric you want to measure, we were the better team. It's tough to swallow but it leaves you with a lot of optimism and hope moving forward."
San Jose head coach Dominic Kinnear was not as supportive of his team after it yielded four goals to the Galaxy. The Earthquakes' normally stingy defense was dominated by Giovani dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini and others in the humbling defeat after the upset win over FC Dallas.
"Our defending was passive and they took advantage of it," Kinnear said. "We were disjointed."
Portland's winless stretch, which started with the 3-0 loss at San Jose, is a result of a lack of scoring production. The Timbers have scored just two goals in their last four matches, including the two shutouts at the hands of San Jose and Seattle.
The absence of the suspended Diego Chara and the early injury substitution for David Guzman caused the Timbers some difficulty with the attack last week. Fanendo Adi, Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco could not make up for their loss. Blanco was visibly upset after he was pulled for a replacement in the second half.
Adi, Valeri and Blanco must produce Friday for the Timbers to end their winless streak, especially without midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who will miss the match because he is with the United States men's national team.
Chara is set to return after drawing a red flag on May 20 against Montreal for slamming his forearm into Ignacio Piatti's face. Guzman was summoned to Costa Rica's World Cup qualifying team.
San Jose potentially will have an abundance of absences Friday.
The Earthquakes have been hit hard by injuries this year, with regular starters Anibal Godoy (hip) and Fatai Alashe (knee) missing last week's match against the Galaxy. Both are questionable to play against Portland. The Earthquakes are already without the services of six other players due to injury.
Portland has yet to lose a match against San Jose at home with a 6-0-3 record. Overall, the Timbers are 7-3-7 against the Earthquakes.