BY MIKE DONOVAN
For a second straight game, the Portland Timbers were facing the San Jose Earthquakes, and for a second straight match the Timbers were in control and holding a one-goal lead late in the second half.
The script changed late though, and reverted to one we have seen from the Earthquakes far too many times to be surprised by. Another late charge, and another late goal helped San Jose snatch a late result.
On Sunday night, it was rookie Adam Jahn playing the role of hero, when he powered home a stoppage-time equalizer to help the Earthquakes salvage a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Jahn, who came onto the pitch minutes before his goal, found himself all alone in front of Donovan Ricketts and blasted the shot past the Jamaican keeper. It was the second time in the young season that Jahn has been able to tie a game with a late goal off the bench. Jahn’s equalizer also marked the tenth time since the start of the 2012 season that the Earthquakes scored a stoppage-time goal.
While the Timbers (2-1-4, 10 points) were able to get a point on the road, they join the long list of teams that has San Jose (2-3-3, eight points) thinking they should have gotten a better result. Thanks to two outstanding first-half saves by Ricketts, it looked like Portland might be able to shut out the Earthquakes for the second consecutive match. Despite giving up the goal, Ricketts is in the midst of his best stretch since arriving in Portland in a trade midway through last season.
Jahn’s goal also nullified Diego Valeri’s second goal of the season. The Argentine midfielder ended a nice string of passing with a one-time blast that easily beat Jon Busch. Valeri was in the starting lineup after missing Portland’s last match with concussion-like symptoms and was the first Timber player substituted out of the match.
The game didn’t feature the same fireworks as the one that took place last week in Portland. That match was filled with shoving matches, hard fouls, and Alan Gordon getting a red card. While the rematch produced a few heated moments, most involving Steven Lenhart, San Jose played with more skill than the first match between the clubs.
One major difference was Shea Salinas being inserted into the starting lineup. Salinas, who was held out the match on the turf of Jeld-Wen Field, was a constant nuisance to Portland in his 60 minutes of action. On numerous occasions Salinas was able to get behind the Timbers fullbacks and was also constantly pressuring Portland’s midfield.
When Salinas was subbed off, he was replaced by Marvin Chavez, who was making his season debut. Chavez immediately took up where Salinas left off, constantly harassing the right side of the pitch. Steven Beitashour also made his 2013 debut for the club.
Portland was able to barely win the possession edge and had just three shots-on-goal. Despite this, Portland was a few minutes away from shutting out San Jose in back-to-back games and having their first three-game winning streak since joining MLS. Instead, they will have to settle for starting the season with three straight road draws.
Portland will be on the road again next weekend as they will travel to take on Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, while San Jose will take on Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center.
Here are the match highlights: