Quakes set to host road-weary Timbers

Quakes set to host road-weary Timbers
July 27, 2013, 10:00 am
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Since losing 2-0 to Real Salt Lake in its season opener March 3, San Jose has gone 5-0-4 at home. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Programming note: Timbers vs. Earthquakes coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. on CSN California.

After both clubs pulled out exhibition wins over the EPL's Norwich City, the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes are looking forward to resuming league play.

The Timbers would appear to have all the more reason to be excited given their success in the series.

Portland tries to stay unbeaten in eight tries against San Jose, which looks to continue its home success as these Western Conference rivals meet Saturday night.

The Timbers (8-2-10) enter the weekend on just two days of rest after beating Norwich City 1-0 on Wednesday. Jose Valencia scored in the 53rd minute, and goalkeepers Milos Kocic and Jake Gleeson combined for the shutout.

"They are in preseason, so we have to keep that perspective," coach Caleb Porter said. "But I think it says a lot about our club that we were able to get a result."

San Jose (6-9-6), meanwhile, pulled out a 1-0 win over Norwich City last Saturday thanks to Cordell Cato's goal in the seventh minute.

[RECAP: Earthquakes earn 1-0 victory over Norwich City]

"Before the game we talked about how there may not be any points on the line tonight, but everyone is playing for something," interim coach Mark Watson told the league's official website. "We're playing for pride, we're playing for our fans, to show that we can compete against a Premier League team. And every player is trying to show that they deserve more playing time or deserve to be in the starting 11 on Saturday."

The Earthquakes now turn their attention to the Timbers, who are 2-0-5 in the series. The clubs, however, have played to draws in all three meetings in San Jose.

Although the Earthquakes sit in eighth place in the West with 24 points, they have taken good care of their own field. Since losing 2-0 to Real Salt Lake in its season opener March 3, San Jose has gone 5-0-4 at home.

The Earthquakes had suffered back-to-back road losses in league play before beating Seattle 1-0 on July 13. Forward Walter Martinez provided all the offense with his first goal in the 48th minute.

"We're feeling good. We're feeling confident," he said. "The game against Seattle lifted a lot of weight off our shoulders and made us feel better."

In its most recent MLS match, second-place Portland played to a scoreless draw at Philadelphia last Saturday. Donovan Ricketts made four saves in recording his league best-tying ninth clean sheet.

"We're proven to be a stingy team defensively," said Porter, whose club's 18 goals allowed are tied for the fewest in MLS. "That makes me happy because there are going to be games where you just can't find the goal, but at the very least you shouldn't lose. And if you get a clean sheet, you're not losing. At least you get a point, and on the road, it's not all bad to get a point."

The Timbers, scoreless in three straight MLS road games, are 2-1-8 as the visiting club.