PORTLAND, Ore. – It was a night of firsts as both Danny Mwanga and Jack Jewsbury scored their first goals of the season to lead the Portland Timbers to a 2-1 victory over San Jose Tuesday night at JELD-WEN Field.
It resulted in the first loss for the Earthquakes – who came into the game with MLS’ best record – since May 27, ending their three-game winning streak and knocking them off their high from Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the LA Galaxy. San Jose remain in first place in the Western Conference, however, with 36 points from 18 games.
The result is a perplexing one for Portland – two weeks ago the Timbers beat bitter rival Seattle 2-1 and seemed to have their faltering season back on track. But then came a lackluster performance Saturday in a 3-0 loss on the road to Colorado.
However, they were able to keep up their solid home form and edge out a morale-boosting result over the Quakes.
Both Jewsbury’s and Mwanga’s goals were especially rewarding for Portland.
Mwanga, acquired in a recent trade with Philadelphia, attended nearby Jefferson High School after fleeing from his native Congo. For Jewsbury, the team captain, his goal marked a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season after he was named to his first MLS All-Star team last year.
Portland’s attack – resembling nothing of their lumbering performance against Colorado – kept the San Jose defense on their toes for the entire night. And the relentless pressure from the wings first resulted in a goal in the 29th minute.
On a counter, Franck Songo’o delivered a perfect cross from the right wing to a charging Mwanga. And the hometown hero fought through Steven Beitashour for position just outside the box, where he chipped in past young goalkeeper David Bingham for his first goal of the season and for Portland.
San Jose also had a handful of dangerous crosses – but nothing that paid off and the up-and-down first half resulted in a 10-7 shot advantage for Portland.
Portland picked up right where they left off in the second half.
Jewsbury’s first tally of the season came in the 59th minute when Bingham misplayed a Songo’o free kick under pressure from Mamadou 'Futty' Danso. Jewsbury pounced on the loose ball before Bingham could recover for a sliding goal.
The high-powered San Jose offense, however, wouldn’t be denied. And Gordon redirected a long shot by Marvin Chavez past Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins for a 74th-minute goal to cut the deficit.
In all, the teams combined for 36 shots – 19 for Portland – in the high-flying match. And the Timbers were able resist San Jose’s final push, despite six minutes of added time.
The Timbers head back on the road for a Saturday match against Real Salt Lake. San Jose travel as well for a match against Dallas on the same day.