Soccer

Improved play, little solace for Timbers fans

Portland dominates much of the game with Chivas USA, but loses 1-0
July 28, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

In the train wreck that has become the 2012 Portland Timbers, Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Chivas USA will be a slight blip on Portland’s trip to last place in the 19-team MLS. Despite dominating the play on the outside of the pitch for one of the few times in their MLS tenure, the Timbers were again befallen by poor finishing and mental mistakes.

The lone goal of the match occurred when Danny Califf headed in a Ben Zemanski free kick almost directly on top of the penalty spot. Troy Perkins rushed off his line to try to make a play on the set piece, but was left in no man’s land 10 yards in front of his net.

Perkins has played decent this season despite some suspect defending in front of him, but his decision to go so far off his line was a poor one. The back four for the Timbers held the Goats to just three shots in the second half with Califf’s goal being the only one on target.

Perkins was not the only one to make a mistake that cost the Timbers.

Kris Boyd flubbed on potential open goals twice and stayed offside multiple times when making runs off of teammate’s headers. Boyd’s scintillating left-footed shot in the 81st minute only proved that Boyd is able to put quality shots on goal.

For many games this season, Boyd has been undone by the poor quality of service into his striking position. That was not the case of Saturday. Franck Songo’o and Diego Chara combined for six successful passes in and around the 18-yard box, but none of them resulted in goals.

Songo’o and Chara, along with Brent Richards dominated midfield possession for large chunks of action. Chivas midfield seemed to lack any cohesion when playing defense and struggled with their touch throughout the match.

Making his first MLS start, Richards seemed to be a focal point of Portland’s game plan. On numerous occasions, free kicks were sent towards Richards to head into the area. Chivas fullbacks had little answer for the Timbers Homegrown Player in the air.

The Timbers man of the match was Songo’o, who excelled in tight spaces throughout the matches. All Songo’o’s work set up quite a few chances for both Boyd and Richards. His foul that preceded the Chivas goal was a tough one to concede, but it was likely due to his constant ball pressure in the first 68 minutes of the match.

In the 26th minute, Songo’o swiped Riley of possession and sprinted towards goal to put in a left-footed cross. The play was one of the best all-around plays the MLS Timbers have received from a wing player in their 55-game history.

While there were positives, they will be little consolation for Timbers fans who just witnessed their team drop its fifth straight league match.

Timbers occupy the net again in loss

English side Aston Villa earns a PK win, but Portland scores twice
July 24, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

The magic that accompanies Jeld-Wen Field for the Portland Timbers showed itself again Tuesday night, even if it didn't turn into a victory.

The Timbers, struggling to score on the road, tallied twice in front of the Timbers Army before dropping their international friendly with Aston Villa, 5-4, in penalty kicks.

Portland trailed 1-0 into the second half when a flurry of substitutions by both teams gave it an edge and turned into goals by Sebastian Rincon and Rodney Wallace.

AVFC, playing in front of Tom Hanks - one of its passionate fans, got goals from Ciaran Clark and Matthew Lowton and converted all of its PKs before a crowd of 20,438.

Villa keeper Brad Guzan needed just one stop, on Bright Dike's effort in the fifth round.

Despite the loss, the Timbers got an emotional lift from the game, one highlighted by the post-game presentation of the slice of lumber each player gets for a goal. Timbers players depantsed Rincon, who scored for the first time in a Timbers uniform.

Portland returns to action Saturday against Chivas USA with a desperate need of a victory. Portland (5-11-4, 19 points) has lost its past four games - three of them on the road - by a combined score of 14-3.

Chivas (6-8-5, 23 points) beat the Timbers 1-0 Wednesday, and also has a 2-1 win in Portland, April 7.

Aston Villa is a friend Timbers need

The EPL side hits Portland in a game of confidence - for both teams
July 23, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

If fortune smiles on the Aston Villa Football Club Tuesday night, their match with the Portland Timbers will end with a victory.

If fortune smiles on the club's fans, it'll be by a score of 2-1 or better.

So, AVFC will win, but the Timbers will score. It's got to do with sawdust.

Most of the traveling party that have supported Villa on its three-city tour of the U.S. that concludes Tuesday, had little to say about the season the Portland Timbers are having, but they did have a few things to say about the game.

First, it's part of the confidence-building process for a club that narrowly missed relegation, said new manager Paul Lambert. Second, it's part of the enjoyment the club might get from their tour of the U.S., a member of the travelling party said.

"They have a guy who walks through the crowd with a chainsaw?" he asked Monday as the team trained at Jeld-Wen Field. "And he saws the log, too? That would be something to see.

"All trip long, everyone told us this was the place to play at. We're all looking forward to it."

Of course, for the chainsaw to break off a slice, the Timbers would need to score, something the team has struggled to do lately. At least on the road.

Portland has scored at home, and against strong competition.

As much as Tuesday's game is part of the confidence-building process for AVFC, it's even more valuable for the Timbers in the confidence department. The Timbers at least need to score. But, a win would be absolutely amazing for a team that hasn't won since coach John Spencer was removed two weeks ago.

A 2-1 win for Portland would be fantastic on an international level.

Fans in England will be watching for the results, and loving the broadcast.

The Timbers will stream the game live on www.portlandtimbers.com, about 90 minutes ahead of the AVFC webcast begins. Fans in England already know this and will be tuning into the Timbers stream - with comments aplenty.

"We delayed the web stream by 90 minutes in Chicago, but they did it live, which our fans found out pretty quickly," the member of the traveling party said. "They did a lot of commenting on social media because of the American broadcasters. The soccer language is different from England and pretty funny for our fans."

The language of victory will be the key for both teams Tuesday, especially for the Timbers in front of their home fans. A month ago, Portland lost to an amateur club from California. Imagine a win over an EPL team Tuesday.

 

Timbers road blues continue in Los Angeles

Chivas USA gets an early goal and holds on for 1-0
July 18, 2012

Better effort. Same result.

in their first road game under coach Gavin Wilkinson, the Portland Timbers once again failed to score and lost 1-0 to Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Miller Bolanos tapped in a cross in the 16th minute for Chivas and the home team's defense produced a shutout for the third consecutive game, which started a four-game swing for the Timbers against the team directly ahead of them in the Western Conference standings.

Portland (5-10-4, 19 ponits) plays at FC Dallas (4-10-7, 19 points) on Saturday.

The Timbers went scoreless for the seventh time in nine road contests, having last scored on the road on April 14 in the first half of a game with the LA Galaxy. Leading 1-0 in the second half, Portland faltered and lost 3-1. The past two road games, the Timbers lost 3-0.

Portland lost to the Galaxy 5-3 on Saturday.

Following Saturday's game at Dallas, Portland has home games with both Dallas and Chivas. First, the Timbers play a friendly with Aston Villa of the English Premier League on Tuesday.

The goal for Bolanos was his first career score and only the team's 12th goal of the season, which remained the league's fewest goals. But, it boosted Chivas to 6-7-5, 23 points in their first-ever day game during the week. In their past four games, Chivas is 2-0-2 and has given up just one goal. Chivas, which moved into sixth place in the Western Conference, plays the Galaxy Saturday. A win would move it just a point behind the Galaxy in the race for fifth place and a playoff spot.

Portland countered by firing off 14 shots - 14 more than their loss at Colorado two weeks ago, and two on goal, both of which were easy saves by Dan Kennedy. The team had several chances that missed the net by less than a yard.

 

 

 

 

Spencer's language trouble wasn't an accent

The soundbites never quite matched the reality for former Portland coach
July 9, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

“To fasten your seatbelt, you take this little fiddly bit and insert that little fiddly bit and how you drove to the bleedin’ airport without knowing this, I will never know.”

No matter what happened on the field, John Spencer will be remembered as a man who had the gift of gab. Whether in a commercial for a corporate sponsor, a post-game press conference or an interview with national media, Spencer had a way with words.

But, words don't make for a successful tenure as a coach. While Spencer’s final record with the club is a respectable 16-22-13, winning just two of his 25 away matches spelled doom for the Scot.

In his season-and-a-half in Portland, Spencer was never able to meld what he said with the performance of his team on the field. Here is a look back at some of Spencer’s words and whether or not they were able to translate to his squad.

Spencer at his introductory press conference on August 11, 2010
“You can’t cross the line, but you can’t back down. You can’t give any ground. You’ve got to match and you’ve got to fight fire with fire.”

While as a player, Spencer was known for never backing down to anyone. His team didn’t always seem to have the same attitude on the pitch. During the 2011 season’s final home game, Mike Chabala received a nasty elbow from Houston’s Danny Cruz. None of Chabala’s teammates went after Cruz either physically or verbally.

When Fredy Montero shoved David Horst to the pitch last month, Timbers were quick to go after him. However, most players can get up for rivalry games. Portland seemed to lack its aggression when taking on opponents that didn’t merit “special” notice.

Spencer in interview with Simon Evans of Reuters Sports, published January 21, 2011
"For me, I was a small striker and there was nothing worse than if the ball was being knocked long to you and you have got to try and get up and challenge big central defenders. Obviously there are times in the game that you have got to do that if you are under pressure but our philosophy will be to go out and pass the ball and try to entertain the fans.”

Despite the previous quote, the Timbers rarely used on-the-pitch strategy that showcased stringing passes together on the ground. Long balls from defenders and in-the-air crosses from the wing have been a hallmark of the Timbers since their MLS debut.

There have been stretches when the Timbers look like they could be a team that could entertain fans through beautiful passing (this year’s home game vs RSL, 2011’s home game vs New England), but those moments were few and far between. The beautiful football that Spencer preached was never a calling card for the play that was seen on the field.

Spencer to StumptownFooty.com on February 29, 2012
“I think that we’re definitely stronger this year. We’ve got more strength and depth.”

While Spencer is certainly not to blame fully for the roster, he certainly had his hand on every player signing the Timbers made. Both Spencer and general manager Gavin Wilkinson had say in which players the Timbers brought in during Spencer’s tenure. And the players were never able to deliver the so-called depth Spencer believed he had.

The best offseason acquisition this season has been central defender Hanyer Mosquera. Unfortunately, centerback was already a position of depth for the club. Heading into the 2012 offseason, Portland’s positions of need seemed to be striker, attacking midfield, and fullback. One of those positions was addressed (Kris Boyd), two of them were not.

When it comes down to it, it is entirely possible that Spencer thought his players were better than they were. He certainly would not be the first coach who got axed for realizing his players too late that his players weren’t good enough.

Spencer on MLSSoccer.com’s ExtraTime Radio podcast on March 13, 2012-
“I try to get the guys ready and motivated for every game, it's important when you are a new club like us to get a winning culture, to build a winning culture. I don’t think you can pick-and-choose your games, when you’re going to play and when you’re not going to play.”

AND

“Last year was a huge learning curve. I don’t think this league gets enough credit for how difficult it is to play on the road. The only way we can crush the doubters’ minds is by producing away from home.”

AND

Spencer to StumptownFooty.com on March 19, 2012-

"You keep mentioning this last year thing. The last year thing is in the past. I keep telling you - that was the first half of the season last year. You know, we're a more mature, experienced group now.

"So as I say, you keep hashing back to things that aren't there anymore. Hopefully they aren't there anymore. I don't think that they are. I think we're more mature as a group.”

At the beginning of the season, Spencer honestly believed his team’s road woes were a thing of the past. He also knew if there was no change in road form, his team would never be able to get over the hump. And that is exactly what happened.

The disparity of home-and-road success is greater than any team in recent MLS memory. While Real Salt Lake struggled mightily in its first two seasons on the road, its home success did not match the Timbers. Even Wilkinson said he has never seen anything like it.

"I've never been in a situation where we 've had a drastic difference in home and away,” Wilkinson said at the press conference to announce Spencer’s firing. Wilkinson also said there has been many discussions on why the Timbers haven’t been able to have any success on the road. No matter who the long-term coach is, he must find a way to win on the road.

John Spencer on MLSSoccer.com’s ExtraTime Radio podcast on June 21, 2012
“At the end of the season, your stats and what you’ve won and you haven’t won will define you as a player. It’s the same at the end of your career.”

AND

“So to win games and be a good player, you gotta produce. All I want to see, all the owner wants to see, and all the fans want to see is not us talking about it, they want to see us do it.”

Just three weeks before his firing, Spencer talked about how quotes mean little without production on the field. For both players and coaches, stats and winning mean more than the type of person you are. It means more than if you have potential or have a good upbringing or look great on paper.

While you can be fired for many things, it's never sound strategy for a coach to not produce meaningful victories. To say John Spencer is to blame solely for poor performances in Cup ties or away performances would be completely unfair. However, it is easier to fire a coach than 30 players. Fair or not, it was Spencer’s job to get results with the team he was given and he knew it.

If MLS coaches were judged on their ability to hold a thoughtful, witty conversation then Spencer would be considered the best coach in the league. Unfortunately for Spencer, it's victories and not quotes that let coaches keep their jobs.



Not like it wasn't on the runway

Mon, 07/09/2012 - 3:27pm
Cliff Pfenning
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It certainly hasn't been a boring first half of the season for the Portland Timbers, and got more unboring Monday when the team fired coach John Spencer.

Relieved of his duties, or removed, or however nicely you want to put it.

The Timbers were a team struggling to put any kind of consistency together, and the constant highs and lows possibly caused by frequent line-up changes made the decision not one that was hard to see coming.

The road losses had to be a factor as did that one, disheartening loss to Cal FC in the US Open Cup, which hits its semifinal stage this week.

If only Kris Boyd had converted that penalty kick in that game.

I'm one of the people saddened by the news. I liked Spencer. And, the team played well at home, which is ideally what you want out of a team. And, it played well against quality opponents - they were at their best against the league's best, twice beating the No. 1 team in the league at Jeld-Wen Field. The team scored in front of the Timbers Army, and wasn't that far away from being a playoff team, either - just four points from fifth place.

But, the road. Man, those road games were painful to watch. Saturday's game at Real Salt Lake was one of the most painful, especially the final 30 minutes when the Timbers got absolutely thrashed. The game brought up plenty of questions. Why wasn't Boyd in the starting line-up? Why was Kosuke Kimura, brought in only Thursday in a trade, in the starting line-up? Why put so much attention on the team's defense, when it seemed to play so much better with some offense taking pressure off the defense - as any team does?

Spencer had exactly one-and-a-half seasons to build the Timbers into something of a playoff contender, especially as more than half the league qualifies for the playoffs. Didn't happen, even though the standings show the team is just four points behind the fifth-place Los Angeles Galaxy and has played two fewer games. The Timbers play the Galaxy Saturday, too.

Despite the struggles of the team, Spencer seemed to have earned the rest of the season to get the team into the top five based on its strong play at home (5-2-2, 17 points) and record (4-2-1) against the best teams in the league - games that have almost all been played in Portland.

Owner Merritt Paulson handled the press conference Monday and made mention of a philosophical difference between coach and management, and he's the final decision maker. At least he was on hand to make the official announcement. However you look at this decision, you knew were it came from. Paulson has done a great job of being visible and representing the franchise in a manner not a lot of fans get - in any of the major leagues. He at least seems to have a clue to where he wants the Timbers to go, which is something the Trail Blazers do not seem to have.

So, general manager Gavin Wilkinson is in as interim coach. At least he has some coaching experience, and successful coaching experience. A couple decades ago, there were plenty of teams that had coaches who were also general managers in professional leagues.

Thanks for the entertainment, coach Spencer. Now, let's see how the Timbers can continue to make the season more entertaining - by beating Los Angeles Saturday for starters.

 

Timbers make another roster move - Spencer

After the debacle in Utah, Portland fires its coach
July 9, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It certainly hasn't been a boring first half of the season for the Portland Timbers, and got more unboring Monday when the team fired coach John Spencer.

Relieved of his duties, or removed, or however nicely you want to put it.

The Timbers were a team struggling to put any kind of consistency together, and the constant highs and lows possibly caused by frequent line-up changes made the decision not one that was hard to see coming.

The road losses had to be a factor as did that one, disheartening loss to Cal FC in the US Open Cup, which hits its semifinal stage this week.

If only Kris Boyd had converted that penalty kick in that game.

I'm one of the people saddened by the news. I liked Spencer. And, the team played well at home, which is ideally what you want out of a team. And, it played well against quality opponents - they were at their best against the league's best, twice beating the No. 1 team in the league at Jeld-Wen Field. The team scored in front of the Timbers Army, and wasn't that far away from being a playoff team, either - just four points from fifth place.

But, the road. Man, those road games were painful to watch. Saturday's game at Real Salt Lake was one of the most painful, especially the final 30 minutes when the Timbers got absolutely thrashed. The game brought up plenty of questions. Why wasn't Boyd in the starting line-up? Why was Kosuke Kimura, brought in only Thursday in a trade, in the starting line-up? Why put so much attention on the team's defense, when it seemed to play so much better with some offense taking pressure off the defense - as any team does?

Spencer had exactly one-and-a-half seasons to build the Timbers into something of a playoff contender, especially as more than half the league qualifies for the playoffs. Didn't happen, even though the standings show the team is just four points behind the fifth-place Los Angeles Galaxy and has played two fewer games. The Timbers play the Galaxy Saturday, too.

Despite the struggles of the team, Spencer seemed to have earned the rest of the season to get the team into the top five based on its strong play at home (5-2-2, 17 points) and record (4-2-1) against the best teams in the league - games that have almost all been played in Portland.

Owner Merritt Paulson handled the press conference Monday and made mention of a philosophical difference between coach and management, and he's the final decision maker. At least he was on hand to make the official announcement. However you look at this decision, you knew were it came from. Paulson has done a great job of being visible and representing the franchise in a manner not a lot of fans get - in any of the major leagues. He at least seems to have a clue to where he wants the Timbers to go, which is something the Trail Blazers do not seem to have.

So, general manager Gavin Wilkinson is in as interim coach. At least he has some coaching experience, and successful coaching experience. A couple decades ago, there were plenty of teams that had coaches who were also general managers in professional leagues.

Thanks for the entertainment, coach Spencer. Now, let's see how the Timbers can continue to make the season more entertaining - by beating Los Angeles Saturday for starters.

 

RSL does all the celebrating Saturday night

Timbers show little fight in final 30 minutes, lose 3-0
July 7, 2012

Forward Alvaro Saborio recorded a hat trick, scoring all three goals in the second half, as Real Salt Lake ended a four-match winless stretch with a 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

The Timbers played Real Salt Lake even through the first hour, but Real Salt Lake was able to take hold of the match on Saborio’s first goal of the night in the 60th minute. Saborio scored a second goal two minutes later, heading home a long cross from defender Chris Wingert, to lift Real Salt Lake to a two-goal lead. Real Salt Lake took a 3-0 lead in the 73rd minute as Saborio converted a penalty kick following a handball on Timbers midfielder Diego Chara in the box. Chara was shown a straight red card on the play and the Timbers finished the final 15 minutes of the 3-0 loss with 10 men.

Saborio recorded his third multiple-goal performance of the season to extend his team-leading goals total to 10 goals, midfielder Kyle Beckerman logged his fourth assist and goalkeeper Nick Rimando earned a second straight clean sheet to lead Real Salt Lake (11-6-3, 36pts) to their first win in five games.

Goalkeeper Troy Perkins made six saves and midfielders Eric Alexander and Lovel Palmer combined for four shots in the loss for the Timbers (5-8-4, 19pts). Portland has lost three straight on the road.

Beckerman set up Saborio’s first goal of the night with a chipped pass into the box from 20 yards out. Saborio was able to fight off is defender and drive a header down and inside the right post as Real Salt Lake cracked the deadlock on the hour mark.

A long pass from midfield by Wingert led to Saborio’s second goal in the 62nd minute. On the long ball played by Wingert, Saborio slipped in behind the Portland backline and was able to head home his ninth goal of the season, giving Real Salt Lake a 2-0 lead.

Saborio got his head to a corner kick in the 73rd minute, but Portland’s Chara on the goal line to block the shot. On the play, Chara was called for a handball and Referee Mark Geiger issued a red card for the foul and awarded Real Salt Lake a penalty kick. Saborio took the kick from the spot and got Perkins to go one way before depositing the ball into the back of the net for his third goal of the contest.

Alexander attempted two of the Timbers’ four shots in the first half, including one in the 33rd minute on an attacking play that deflected off Real Salt Lake defender Jamison Olave and bounced just wide of the right post.

All the Timbers need to win is an Army

Portland's home field edge comes through Tuesday in 2-1 win
July 3, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

In just a season-and-a-half, Jeld-Wen Field has quickly become the place where the top of MLS heap is cut down to size.

Tuesday night marked the fourth time in the club’s MLS history that the Portland Timbers took on the MLS leader at Jeld-Wen Field. And for the fourth straight time, it was the home fans who went home happy as Portland knocked off the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 in front of another sellout crowd.

In his first start in Portland since being traded to the Timbers, former Jefferson High School star Danny Mwanga gave the Timbers the lead in the 29th minute on a marvelous counterattack. It took just 12 seconds for Franck Songo’o to steal the ball from San Jose’s Rafael Baca on the edge of the Timbers penalty area, have a give-and-go with Eric Alexander and then pass the ball to a cutting Mwanga.

The goal came directly in front of the Timbers Army and sent the crowd into a bedlam. Coming off their worst loss of the season, Mwanga’s goal seemed to give an extra boost of energy to the Timbers.

For the 9th time in 2012, San Jose conceded the opening goal. But that might have been a good omen for the club, due to their 4-2-3 mark in those games. The comeback kids could not match the Timbers in front of their home fans.

Jack Jewsbury’s first goal of the season gave the club a 2-0 just before the 60-minute mark. Former Timber Alan Gordon got one back for the Quakes in the 74th minute but they were unable to get a shot on target after the goal.

Despite playing their worst game of the season just 72 hours earlier, the crowd was as loud as ever. Something that was not lost on head coach John Spencer.

“I think it’s easy to get up for games here. The passion and the energy in this stadium was tremendous. Felt it from the first whistle,” Spencer said postmatch.

The game was the 26th the Timbers have played at Jeld-Wen since their ascent to the MLS. Tuesday’s victory runs Portland’s record in those games to 14-7-5. Jewsbury says the fans play a direct part in the Timbers home success.

“With the fans and the energy they create, it makes it a bit easier for us and in that sense its great to play here, “ said Jewsbury, who scored for the first time in his last 25 games Tuesday.

But the Timbers know that their home dominance will mean little without getting results on the road. Portland has just two points from their seven road matches this season.
“Now, it’s a matter of us creating the same amount of energy for ourselves when we don’t have the fans there on the road,” Jewsbury said.

John Spencer, however, had a different idea on how to replicate the Jeld-Wen atmosphere for Saturday’s game at Real Salt Lake. When asked how the Timbers can play with the same fire this weekend in Utah, Spencer put his owner Merritt Paulson on the hook.

“I think our owner has planned to send 15,000 people, free of charge to Salt Lake next Saturday,” Spencer said, with a wry smile on his face.
The victory kept one of the more unusual streaks alive for Portland. The Timbers move to 4-0-1 in their last five home games playing under a full moon extending back to the USL era. Portland will play one more game at Jeld-Wen under a full moon this season on August 31 against the Colorado Rapids.

Full Moon or not, it is getting harder to deny what a homefield advantage Jeld-Wen Field has become.

Another No. 1 bites the dust

Timbers beat another top-ranked team, this time San Jose, 2-1
July 3, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

For the second time this season, the Portland Timbers showed off they can play with the best teams in the league - at home, and beat San Jose 2-1 Tuesday night at Jeld-Wen Field.

Danny Mwanga, brought in for his scoring just a month ago, and Jack Jewsbury, moved from midfield to the backline earlier in the year, both scored to highlight a dazzling effort from a team that got pounded at Colorado just three days earlier.

The win gave Portland (5-7-4, 19 points) three much-need points in the Western Conference against a San Jose team (11-4-3, 36 points) ranked No. 1 in the MLS Power Rankings and coming off a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy played before more than 50,000 fans.

"They're the hottest team in the league, so this is a great win for us," Portland coach John Spencer said. "Playing at home, in this environment puts so much energy in our guys. It really makes a huge difference in our play."

Portland beat Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on April 21 when KC entered No. 1 and the Timbers had just lost 3-1 at Los Angeles to fall to 1-4-1.

Most observers expected the Timbers to lose Tuesday night, especially after Saturday's loss that dropped the team from No. 16 to 18 in the league rankings, ahead of only FC Dallas.

"We knew coming in that we had some things to prove, and we needed to show that on the field," Jewsbury said. "It feels great to have played the way we played and got a win over such a strong team."

Next up, Portland plays at Real Salt Lake, which is second in the Western Conference standings at 10-6-2, 32 points, and ranked No. 4.

Mwanga, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, scored off an assist by Frank Songo'o in the 29th minute, ending a scoreless streak of more than a year for the former Jefferson High and Oregon State standout.

Jewsbury added a score in the 59 minute, finishing a wild play in front of the San Jose goal that started off a Portland free kick.

San Jose got a score from Alan Gordon in the 74th minutes, but could not get another quality shot toward Portland keeper Troy Perkins.

The Timbers improved to 5-2-2 at home, where they've scored 14 of their 16 total goals this season.

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