Match day for the San Jose Earthquakes, as the team is in Portland to face the Timbers tonight (7:30 p.m. at Jeld-Wen Field) in MLS regular season play. Facing the distinct possibility that a second straight loss on their current three-game road trip will all but officially eliminate them from the postseason race, the Quakes need to find a way to pick up a victory against the high-flying Timbers. Currently riding a three-match winning streak at home in addition to a lengthy period of shutdown defense, Portland as picked up their momentum over the past month and now sits right on the threshold of qualifying for the MLS Cup playoffs in their first year in the league.
The Earthquakes will feature a line-up very similar to that which faced the Dynamo last Saturday, with one change made necessary to accommodate Justin Morrow returning from injury. The second-year defender will regain his starting role on the left side of the defensive back four, pushing team captain Ramiro Corrales up into a central midfield role. The shuffling continues with Rafael Baca making way for the veteran by shifting to the right winger position and Joey Gjertsen returning to a substitute’s role on the bench. Head coach Frank Yallop’s experiment of utilizing Khari Stephenson as a forward will continue for the sixth straight match, as the Jamaican midfielder makes his fifth start in that span as a striker.
Want to get up to speed on the happenings around the Earthquakes? If you have an hour to spare, why not take a listen to the latest Quakes Cast podcast for everything Earthquakes.
Over at Quake, Rattle and GOAL! and at the Portland Timbers blog Stumptown Footy, there is information galore revealed in their friendly conversation from earlier today.
Our good friend Elliott Almond keeps it short and sweet with his preview of tonight’s match.
The just-the-facts report from MLSsoccer.com can be a bit dry, but if you love numbers (and large .pdf downloads), this preview is for you.
For a look at tonight’s game from the Oregon perspective, check out the great work being done by Geoffrey C. Arnold at OregonLive.com.
And in an excellent write-up of the Earthquakes leading scorer and native Bay Area athlete Chris Wondolowski, be sure to read the feature profile by Kyle Bonagura on the former De La Salle High School star here.