The Portland Timbers will hit the road again to take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday, September 16th, 2020 at 6:30pm PT.
Portland are coming off a tough loss to LAFC, and a second half wherein the Timbers looked like they were playing as if the score was drawn.
San Jose snagged a point from the L.A. Galaxy after a string of bottom-of-the-barrel performances since the restart.
One of the biggest issues for the Timbers has been their inability to train at their usual facility in Beaverton. Due to the hazardous smoke that has enveloped much of the West coast for the past week or so, the Timbers have had to move their training indoors.
You might visualize indoor professional soccer training as some massive facility with a bunch of fields, but really it’s just a futsal court. One futsal court.
Understandably, Savarese called the facilities “too small” when asked about the challenges they’ve presented.
“We’re very thankful that at least we have a place to train,” said Gio. “It is very different…We need to make sure that we take any difficult situation and adapt to it.”
For what it’s worth, the Earthquakes have had their own training restrictions as well. Overall, training conditions should not have an affect on the outcome of this match, and here’s why.
San Jose are Bad
The Quakes have not won a match since the first round of the MLS is Back knockout round. That match, in which Real Salt Lake earned two red cards, took place on July 27th.
Since then, the Quakes have lost four matches (including a 7-1 drubbing from the Sounders) and drawn twice—most recently, a scoreless draw against L.A. Galaxy in the Cali Clasico on Sunday.
Matias Almeyda’s side is spectacularly underperforming, but he’s still the manager and the games aren’t slowing down. While that gives Almeyda less time in training, it gives the team more chances to turn things around on the field.
San Jose are flirting with the bottom of the table in the West. There is little margin for error for Portland, either; the Timbers are in the thick of a tight Western Conference playoff race. (As of Tuesday morning,) only four points separate third-place Minnesota from tenth-place Colorado. At this stage, every single game is crucial.
Portland and San Jose will meet again this Saturday. Wednesday’s match is a rescheduling of last month’s postponement in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting.
Losing to San Jose would be an embarrassment for the Timbers, but doing it twice would be even worse. Of course, this could be a nice six-point swing for Portland heading into the latter stages of the regular season.
Expectations and Predictions
San Jose were about as bad as a team can get last week, but they’re on the rise after holding Christian Pavón and the fifth-place Galaxy scoreless. The Timbers are…well…the Timbers. Inconsistency has been the name of the game after an MLSiBT Final win, awful restart, impressive bounce-back in Seattle, and subsequent first-half collapse against LAFC.
Based on most recent results, it makes sense that the Quakes are +135 favorites to win (Timbers +175, draw +280) on Bovada.
Still, the Timbers should take three points from this match. I predict a dominant 3-0 victory that quells negativity and gives Portland a huge confidence boost. I also predict a Valeri goal and some big saves from Steve Clark.
A fun fact to close this one out: Only three Earthquakes players have scored multiple MLS goals against the Timbers, and Chris Wondolowski has done so 11 times. The other two (Danny Hoesen and Alan Gordon [lol]) each have just two.
Follow @doublepostpod for live reactions/discussion during the match, and catch my postgame recap right here after the final whistle. Go Timbers!