Major League Soccer

Timbers-Earthquakes Preview

Giovanni Savarese acknowledges the Portland Timbers are in "a difficult moment," but is proud of the way they have come through a grueling start to the season.

The Timbers are 12th in the 13-team Western Conference through four games, having won only once and lost their other three matches.

Portland were also involved in the CONCACAF Champions League, losing in the quarterfinals to Club America, so they have played eight times already in 2021.

Savarese's side has done so, too, without Designated Players Sebastian Blanco and Jaroslaw Niezgoda due to injury.

"It's a difficult moment for us," the coach said. "We haven't been able to get the results we're looking for. It was difficult to endure five matches in 15 days. I'm very proud in how the players have given everything that they have to stay competitive.

"I'm not one that looks for excuses. Every player that is available is 100 percent ready to play. We're still going to be competitive, we're content with the intensity we're bringing to the matches."

Indeed, the Timbers have not now played since last Sunday's derby defeat to the Seattle Sounders, while this weekend's opponents, the San Jose Earthquakes, faced the same side in midweek.

Despite the short rest, Savarese expects a tough test.

"Every time you play San Jose, regardless, you know you're going to find a hard-working team who gives their all," he said. "You know what to expect."

Quakes coach Matias Almeyda called Portland a tough team to analyze at the moment.

"We will have to make a thorough analysis of Portland," he said. "For us, every team in the league is challenging, not just Seattle and Portland. We respect everyone but we know we have to be doing very well to compete against anybody.

"We will analyze Portland, and then we will assess who has recovered from (the Seattle) match and determine if changes are necessary in order to renew energy."

San Jose Earthquakes – Jackson Yueill

Yueill has the talent to excite and showed how impactful he can be with a brace against DC United. But the midfielder is now 24 and those decisive performances must start to arrive on a more regular basis if San Jose are to succeed.

Portland Timbers – Yimmi Chara

The other Chara brother, Diego, is out injured for Portland, but they need more from Yimmi. Like Yueill, the attacker has been frustratingly inconsistent in his time in MLS, with his only goals so far this season a Champions League hat-trick against Marathon.

- Portland has won three of its past four meetings with San Jose (D1), including a 6-1 win on their last visit to Paypal Park in September 2020. The six goals set a new record in a single match for the Timbers, a mark they equaled just three weeks later in a 6-3 win at the Galaxy.

- San Jose's nine-match run with at least one goal was ended in a 1-0 loss to Seattle on Wednesday. The Earthquakes haven't gone consecutive matches without scoring since a three-game drought in July 2018.

- The Timbers have kept only two clean sheets in their past 40 away matches (including playoffs) dating back to August 2018. They've kept only two clean sheets in 13 visits to San Jose in their MLS history.

- Chris Wondolowski has scored 11 goals against the Timbers in his career. No other player has scored more than nine times against Portland in MLS.

- Diego Valeri has been involved in 17 goals in 16 games against the Earthquakes in his career (eight goals, nine assists), tied for his most against any opponent in regular season play (17 – 9G 8A – vs LA Galaxy).

Updated May 14, 2021

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