The San Jose Earthquakes saw their winless streak reach 12 games Wednesday, losing to the Portland Timbers for the second time in five days.
Rodney Wallace again put Portland ahead with a first half goal and MVP candidate Diego Valeri added two for insurance, giving the hosts a 3-0 victory and a two point lead on Vancouver for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
Wallace is becoming a menace against San Jose scoring three of his five goals this season in the last two contests.
Valeri’s two goals were his 10th and 11th of 2014 setting a Portland Timbers MLS record for goals in a season. Valeri is also fourth in the MLS with 10 assists.
With Victor Bernardez, Chris Wondolowski, Atiba Harris and Cordell Cato all on international duty, Mark Watson made four changes to his starting XI. Yannick Djalo made his first start since suffering a thigh injury on August 2, and Adam Jahn’s notched his first MLS start of 2014.
The Quakes were completely inept going forward, failing to record a shot on target for the entirety of the match.
Wallace finished an impressive sequence in the 41st minute, scoring from a tough angle on the left side of the box after a delivery from Darlington Nagbe. With JJ Koval playing out of position at right-back, Portland took advantage by attacking down the left for much of the evening.
Wallace was also involved in Portland’s second goal, drawing a penalty after being pulled down in the box by San Jose defender Jason Hernandez.
Valeri knocked the spot kick into the top of Busch’s net to give Portland a 2-0 advantage.
But the Argentinian wanted to make sure San Jose would remember him after sitting out Saturday’s match at Buck Shaw. Valeri ran 40 yards down the pitch before playing a square ball to Diego Chara who knocked it out wide for Wallace. Wallace’s shot forced a diving save by Busch and Valeri knocked in the rebound for his first brace of 2014.
The Earthquakes sit just two games out of last place in the West, with only three matches remaining. The 12 match winless streak is the second-longest drought in club history since the club went winless in 13 straight in 2011.