This article originally appeared at CSNBayArea.com
Last week, the Earthquakes elected to play with a two man disadvantage and were punished by a Vancouver Whitecaps equalizing goal. This week, courtesy of a red card via two yellows earned by Alan Gordon, San Jose capitulated late to the Portland Timbers in a 1-0 loss at Jeld-Wen Field.
Will Johnson earned the victory for the Timbers with a free-kick goal in the 78th minute. For Johnson, it was his third goal of the 2013 season, and it gave Portland their second straight victory of the year.
The loss dropped San Jose's all-time record to Portland to 0-2-4 and their overall season record to 2-3-2. The Quakes will look to rebound next weekend when they face the Timbers for a second successive match.
Getting shut out did not seem in the cards when the Earthquakes starting eleven was announced prior to the match. For the first time since a 4-1 victory at Colorado last October, head coach Frank Yallop was able to start Gordon, Steven Lenhart, and Chris Wondolowski together. The attack-minded line-up paid dividends that fall evening as Wondolowski recorded a hat-trick against the Rapids.
Unlike Colorado in that match, one in which the Quakes jumped out to a 2 goal lead inside of 11 minutes, the Timbers proved to be a much more worthy opponent. Looking out of sync as they played their 6th different starting line-up in their first 7 games to start the 2013 season, San Jose had difficulty connecting passes in the offensive half of the field. And when the team did get shots on goal, as they did through Ramiro Corrales in the 16th minute and Rafael Baca in the 25th minute, the efforts did little to challenge Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
The only significant action of the first half was a yellow card earned by Gordon in the 41st minute and by Timbers midfielder Diego Chara in the 44th minute. The chippy encounter stretched an additional 5 minute of stoppage time before the break, but neither side was able to muster much up in the attacking third.
The Timbers were without centerbacks David Horst and Andrew Jean-Baptiste, but "Bash Brothers" Lenhart and Gordon did not dominate as might have been expected. Instead, Portland defensive duo Mikael Silvestre and Mamadou "Futty" Danso were able to stymie the Earthquakes offense through the first hour of the match, helping the home side to a nearly 2:1 advantage in possession in that time. Lenhart made way for substitute Cordell Cato in the 63rd minute without registering a single shot attempt.
The match changed completely when Gordon was shown a second yellow for an errant elbow on Silvestre while challenging for an aerial ball. Referee Hilario Grajeda produced a red card to Gordon in the 69th minute, and the Earthquakes settled in for more than 20 minutes playing a man down.
In the 78th minute, after the Timbers earned a free kick 25 yards dead center in front of goal, Johnson curled a beautiful shot over the defensive wall that eluded goalkeeper Jon Busch and settled into the back of the net for the game's opening goal.
The Earthquakes, despite playing a man down, put up a valiant effort in attempt to find an equalizer, but the closest they came was deep in stoppage time. A long throw-in from Justin Morrow was flicked in the area by substitute Nana Attakora, but Wondolowski was unable to get much power behind his headed follow-up and Ricketts safely collected the shot on target.
Portland saw out the remaining moments of the match to secure their second straight victory under first-year coach Caleb Porter. San Jose remained winless on the road in 2013 and return to San Jose to face the Timbers again next Sunday at Buck Shaw Stadium.