After last week's anti-climactic draw with FC Dallas, the Portland Timbers turn their attention to another Western Conference rival for another road match. This week's opponent is the San Jose Earthquakes, a team that the Timbers have had an interesting history with over the years. In 16 regular season meetings since the Timbers joined MLS in 2011, Portland has won 7 of those matchups mostly at home and there have also been 7 draws within the series. San Jose has just 2 wins in that series, both in California at their new home in Avaya Stadium. Ironically, Portland played one of their most troubling road matches in 2016 there when San Jose scored two goals in the first half, and held on for the victory. In the other two matchups in the Rose City, Portland defeated the Earthquakes by respective 3 to 1 and 1 to 0 tallies. Timbers Coach Caleb Porter actually has one of his better career winning percentages in matches against San Jose.
San Jose has gone through a bit of an overhaul but continue to be under the tutelage of Coach Dominic Kinnear. Kinnear was elevated to the top spot in 2004 and led the side until the then-Earthquakes moved to Houston in 2006 and he followed them to Texas, and he remained with the Dynamo until the end of the 2014 season when he resigned. Kinnear wasn't out of work for very long and he returned to familiar haunts when he became the Earthquakes coach before the 2015 season. The Earthquakes have always played a physical style of soccer, even embracing a "thuggish" demeanor in their approach, but Kinnear has steadily added more technical players to the mix. David Bingham has taken over the goalkeeping job on a regular basis, and Chris Wondolowski continues to be one of the main offensive catalysts, but San Jose added several weapons in Florian Jungworth, Jahmir Hyka and Marco Urena. Anibal Godoy continues to be there in the middle along with Simon Dawkins, while their defense still has stoutness with Victor Bernardez and Shaun Francis.
The two teams always play very spirited and passionate battles, and I don't think anybody would expect anything different. What does our panel of soccer experts think might happen in this weekend's match? Read below to find out.
|Staring off into space or thinking about the brush
Spot - scoreless draw
The queen of not picking scores once again picked that nobody would score anything on this evening. While she was very preoccupied with licking her arms and she was asked about potential handballs or issues, the princess wouldn't make any number designations despite several efforts. I guess we fall upon the theory - I'm a cute kitty, I don't need to do anything. Well, she did pick a score last week.
|I want goals. Lots of lots of goals. Please, Timbers.
Tortie - Timbers 12, Earthquakes 9.
While Spot wasn't interested in picking numbers, Tortie was all excited to think about goals and put up quite a racket during her interview. The eeps and meows went into double digits rather quickly, but the tortoise shelled one gave the Timbers more meows than the other guys again for this week. Perhaps the Timbers can fulfill this one for her this week, but they are leading the league in goals scored, so there is that.
|Peace will reign.
Jennifer - Timbers 0, Earthquakes 0.
There isn't a score because there isn't going to be a match. The San Jose Ultras are going to orchestrate the most amazing tifo the world has ever seen, leaving everyone in awe and quiet contemplation. The visual display and accompanying lyrical mastery will set the standard for years to come. Playing a game of soccer will seem trite in comparison after such a life-changing experience. We will all grow as supporters and humans in general.
|Oh, hai. I can haz cheesburgr??
GB - Timbers 2, Earthquakes 2.
Apparently, the grey boy really thought about this one a lot, since it took him several days and asks before he finally gave his thoughts. Two head butts for the Timbers, two for the Earthquakes. We know better to question the mastery of the grey one, especially since it wasn't even around meal time when he was interviewed.
|All the Timbers gear! All of it!!
Kip - Timbers 2, Earthquakes 0.
I am sure the Timbers are kicking themselves slightly after not getting the full 3 points in Dallas, but they should be able to right the ship this week. They might not have Darlington Nagbe due to injury, but I feel that Diego Valeri will be back and with the rest of the Timbers offense clicking right now, they will have no trouble scoring goals. Stopping them might be an issue, but I think the defense will come together to pitch the shutout.
Rick - Timbers 2, Earthquakes 2.
Seven roads points gives the Timbers the best Western Conference record (2-1-2, 2nd overall) in 2017 as they meet up with San Jose who are unbeaten at Avaya Stadium with a 2-0-2 record. Whether Valeri and Nagbe start could end up as game time decisions with Asprilla and Mattocks, who played well last week, filing in if they are unavailable. I'm going to go with goals from Adi and Vytas.