Timbers Talk: Timbers Grind Out 1-0 Win Over Earthquakes

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The Portland Timbers defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Sunday April14, 2013, on a 78th minutes free kick goal by captain Will Johnson.

Following the win the Timbers leapfrogged all the way to third place in the MLS Western Conference with nine points after six games.

The match was hard fought and saw referee Hilario Grajeda issue four yellow cards, including two to the Quakes Alan Gordon, leading to a red card and his ejection in the 69th minute following a hard elbow that bloodied the mouth of Timbers defender Mikael Silvestre.   Gordon was also involved in an altercation earlier with the Timbers Johnson in which he used a homophobic slur which was captured by television cameras.  Gordon was suspended by the league for three games following a review of the incident.

The match was a rough and tumble affair which saw neither team create many dangerous chances on the opposing goal.

It was Johnson who kept his cool and exacted revenge on Gordon and the Earthquakes, when he drove a beautiful twenty-five yard free kick from directly in front of the goal, curling it over the wall,  past an outstretched Jon Buschand into the side netting of the north end goal in front of a rejoicing Timbers Army.

Timbers captain Will Johnson celebrates his game winning goal with the traditional log slice.

Timbers captain Will Johnson celebrates his game winning goal with the traditional log slice.

The game was the opener of a home-and-home series with the Earthquakes.  The two teams will face each other in the rematch on Sunday April 21 at 8:00 PM at Buck Shaw Stadium in San Jose.

Game Notes

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter once again had to tinker with his starting lineup, inserting Mamadou “Footy” Danso into central defense along side Silvestre.  Danso had not been among the eighteen players selected for a game roster previously this season.  Porter called on Danso after the injury to David Host against Houston and when Andrew Jean-Baptiste was unable to play with a minor injury.  Diego Valeri was also unable to play as he is still recovering from concussion symptoms from a collision suffered in last weeks game.  Kalif Alahssan started in place of Valeri.

The entire backline of the Timbers played an exceptional game, earning a clean sheet for the second game in a row.  Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts had little work all evening as Danso and  Silvestre effectively shut down the Quakes notorious pair of forwards Steven Lenhart and Gordon. Outside backs Michael Harrington and Jack Jewsbury also had excellent games, especially Harrington who marked last season Golden Boot winner, Chris Wondolowski. out of the game.

By the Numbers

The Timbers once again controlled possession of the ball, 65%  to the Earthquakes 35%.  The Timbers outshot San Jose 11-6 and held the Earth Quakes triple threat of Wondolowski, Gordon and Lenhart to just 3 shots all evening; Lenhart did not record a shot all evening and Wondowlowski had 2.  With his game winning goal, Johnson is now tied with the Timbers other Johnson, Ryan, for the team lead with 3 goals each. The Timbers are now unbeaten in their last four games and have won two straight games. The Timbers are tied with Houston and Chivas for second in MLS with 10 goals scored.  They have also given up 8 goals which ties them with Chivas and San Jose for the most in the Western Conference.

Man of the Match

Certainly Will Johnson deserves consideration for his fantastic curling game winner, but Johnson had a workmanlike and quiet game before his heroic shot and had gone largely unnoticed, except of course by the Quakes Gordon.  Johnson certainly kept his cool and found the best way to pay Gordon back for his antics.  Instead we’re picking a pair of players for MOM- the Timbers centerback pairing of Mikael Silvestre and Futty Danso, who shut down one the leagues most fearsome scoring tandems, and really did it with ease.  Silvestre and Danso were starting together for the first time but looked like long time partners.  Their positioning was stellar all evening, Danso was a beast in the air and Silvestre showed real heart when he got up from taking Gordon’s elbow that bloodied his mouth and shoved Gordon in the chest.  it was the spark the Timbers needed and showed they weren’t going to be pushed around.