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Quakes Play to Goal-Filled Draw at Portland

In a match where defense was scarce, the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers split six goals evenly, denying each side the chance for a victory it desperately needed.

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Well, you can't say this one wasn't entertaining. Chances were bountiful for both the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers, and each side netted three goals to split the points at Providence Park in Portland. Chris Wondolowski scored twice for the Quakes, sandwiching a Cordell Cato strike for San Jose. Right back Alvas Powell had a goal and an assist for the Timbers, and Diego Valeri was brilliant in picking up assists on all three goals for Portland. Despite all of the fantastic offensive play, neither defense played well enough to deserve three points from the game.

Portland started out the game brilliantly and were unfortunate not to be ahead within the first quarter hour. Goalkeeper Jon Busch seemed to be the only one from San Jose ready to play. His reaction save on a point blank header from Portland's Liam Ridgewell was save-of-the-week type stuff, and his parry off of Valeri's shot from long range was more difficult than he made it look. San Jose's back line looked overmatched against Portland's quickness, and by minute 15 the Timbers had registered an astounding eight shots.

Somehow, though, the Quakes went ahead on one of their first forays into Portland's penalty area. Shea Salinas won the ball on the left side of the penalty area, and saw his shot saved by a sprawling Donovan Ricketts. Cato had a whack at the rebound, and Salinas had a second shot hit the post before the ball fell to Wondolowski. Wondo made no mistake, finishing from inside the six yard box for his 11th goal on the season.

The goal helped the Quakes keep more possession, but Portland still looked more threatening going forward. Timbers striker Fenando Adi had what appeared to be a tap in bumbled off the line by Busch and the Quakes defense. San Jose managed to escape the first half with the 1-0 lead.

And just after the break, the Quakes doubled their lead. Cato opportunistically pounced on a loose ball near the top of the area and curled a shot to the far post beyond Ricketts, who had no chance to stop the surprise shot.

The Timbers got back into the game right away. Portland had found joy down the left side of San Jose's defense all game, and finally one attack resulted in a goal in the 54th minute. Valeri lofted a ball over the San Jose defense, finding Powell there, whose shot ricocheted off the back post and in.

Ten minutes later, Tommy Thompson nearly opened his account for San Jose with a free header inside the area. Unfortunately for the 19-year old, his shot flashed just wide.

Unable to find the two goal lead again, the Quakes were knocked back to level pegging shortly after. In the 74th minute, Valeri again played creator, as his cross was knocked in at the far post by defender Liam Ridgewell.

At 2-2, it was game on. Valeri tried to get on the scoresheet with a long range effort in the 84th minute that went just wide. Then, just a minute later, the Quakes went ahead again. Salinas looped in a long range cross, and once again Chris Wondolowski was there to finish with a header. Wondo too easily split both Portland center backs, including Ridgewell, who had a very mixed game. His goal equalized, but defensively he was caught ball watching on both of San Jose's second half tallies.

Though San Jose had the 3-2 lead, you never backed them to hold on. And indeed it took only one minute for Portland to equalize again. Valeri and Powell again combined on the attacking right, with the side back getting into the box and playing a ball into the danger area. Kalif Alhassan was there, and had ample time to slot home past Busch.

The 3-3 result was assured with the final whistle shortly after. Both teams will feel disappointed with the result, but particularly San Jose. Scoring three goals on the road should be enough for a full three points. But the defense was not up to the task in this game. Frankly, the Quakes should feel a bit fortunate to have only conceded three goals. Portland had 32 total shots for the game and forced a remarkable 10 saves from Jon Busch.

Yes, a point at Portland is generally a decent result. As is a point in Seattle and Los Angeles. But given the circumstances, the Quakes wanted and needed more. The team was opportunistic in front of goal, and played well enough offensively to win. But defensive games like this one are not good enough, and may ultimately prove too much to overcome for a playoff run.