PORTLAND, Ore. – The San Jose Earthquakes fell to the Portland Timbers 2-1 on Saturday night at Providence Park.
The Quakes nearly scored on two separate occasions in the first 30 minutes – one on a curling effort by Cristian Espinoza and one on a header by Marcos Lopez – but were denied by spectacular saves from goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic both times.
Benji Kikanović got the Earthquakes on the board just before halftime. A clever set piece by San Jose played Espinoza through on goal. His low shot was saved but the clearance by a Timbers defender was misplayed and found Kikanović alone at the back post for the tap-in.
Portland equalized eight minutes into the second half when a shot from distance was incidentally redirected by Jaroslaw Niezgoda past goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. The Timbers then took the lead in the 71st minute on a header by Dairon Asprilla.
The Earthquakes will now return to San Jose to host Real Salt Lake on Saturday, July 30. The match will kick off from PayPal Park at 7 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports California, KNBR 1050 (English), and 1370 KZSF (Spanish).
The Earthquakes currently hold a 5-9-7 record (22 pts.) during the 2022 MLS regular season.
San Jose is now 9-17-4 all-time vs. the Portland Timbers, including a 0-12-4 record on the road.
The Earthquakes are now 5-5-4 in MLS play under interim head coach Alex Covelo.
The Quakes led at halftime of a road match against the Timbers for just the third time in 16 visits to Portland.
Benji Kikanović scored his third goal of the season and seventh of his MLS career. Kikanović has scored or assisted in four of the team’s five matches thus far during the month of July.
2022 MLS Regular Season
Portland Timbers 2 – 1 San Jose Earthquakes
Saturday, July 23, 2022 – Providence Park in Portland, Ore.
SJ (1-0) – Benji Kikanović (unassisted) 42’
POR (1-1) – Jaroslaw Niezgoda (Diego Chara, Eryk Williamson) 53’
POR (2-1) – Dairon Asprilla (Santiago Moreno, Yimmi Chara) 71’
POR – Josecarlos Van Rankin (caution) 39’
POR – Yimmi Chara (caution) 40’
POR – Claudio Bravo (caution) 41’
SJ – Nathan (caution) 49’
POR – Dairon Asprilla (caution) 67’
SJ – Jackson Yueill (caution) 78’
PORTLAND TIMBERS: Aljaz Ivacic; Josecarlos Van Rankin (Bill Tuiloma 76), Clausio Bravo, Dario Zuparic, Larrys Mabiala; Eryk Williamson (Santiago Moreno 59), Diego Chara ©, Yimmi Chara, Dairon Asprilla (Felipe Mora 76), Marvin Loria (Cristhian Paredes 46); Jaroslaw Niezgoda (David Ayala 90+5).
Substitutes not used: David Bingham (GK), Zachery McGraw, Pablo Bonilla, Nathan Fogaca.
SHOTS: 19; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 18; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 6
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: JT Marcinkowski; Marcos Lopez, Tanner Beason, Nathan, Tommy Thompson (Paul Marie 61); Eric Remedi (Judson 61), Jamiro Monteiro, Jackson Yueill ©; Benji Kikanovic (Cade Cowell 77), Jeremy Ebobisse, Cristian Espinoza.
Substitutes not used: Matt Bersano (GK), Oskar Ågren, Ousseni Bouda, Jan Gregus, Jack Skahan, Niko Tsakiris.
SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 15; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 3
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES INTERIM HEAD COACH ALEX COVELO
On the first half vs the second half:
“We had a very good first half. We had our chances to score here which is not easy. At halftime we were talking about that point, a critical point where the opponent is trying to push and pass that moment, and we needed to be ready to hold that part and control the game. They were going to press more and find more balls in behind. When we were going through that moment, they scored off a rebound and then we started to suffer a little bit. We were still able to create a couple chances to win the game with Cristian [Espinoza] and Cade [Cowell].”
On Benji Kikanović’s contributions:
“I think that Benji is doing very well the last few games so that’s why he keeps playing. He helps us by defending, he’s committed with the team, he’s a good header of the ball, he connects well between lines. That’s why he’s playing. That’s why we made that decision the last few games.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES FORWARD BENJI KIKANOVIC
On what’s needed to reach the playoffs and competing for that MLS Cup:
“I just think as a whole group we need to stop leaking goals left and right, that starts from up front because we start the defense all the way to the back. If we are going to keep leaking goals like this then it’s not going to happen, playoffs are not going to happen. It sucks to say and I’m being blunt but it’s the honest truth, we can score, that’s not the problem. We can score but sometimes defensively I don’t know if we don’t concentrate enough, I couldn’t tell you what it is but it’s on every single one of us. We need to tighten up everywhere really, not just the back. It sucks for JT [Marcinkowski] because he’s making saves doing what he can, we’re all trying to do what we can, but we’re giving up goals. We just need to come together and figure it out.”
On if he has to expel too much energy defensively:
“It’s always tough but my job as winger is to go up and down so I can’t really complain, and I’ll do whatever I need to do for the team. If I need to be back more, I’ll be back more. If I need to be up more then I’ll be up more. Obviously I get tired, I can only run so much and wish I could not get tired, wish I could be like a horse just keep going up and down. It’s tough but you have to do it and help out your team in any way you can.”