Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: Avaya Stadium – Sunday, March 13 – 18:00 ET (23:00 GMT – Live on Sky Sports)
Match Odds: San Jose 11/8 – Draw 9/4 – Portland 2/1
San Jose got off to the perfect start as they beat Colorado Rapids 1-0 on the opening day, courtesy of Chris Wondolowski’s goal at the very start of the second-half. They will now look to start a season with back-to-back victories for the first time in franchise history.
Facing off against the reigning MLS Cup champions will provide the Quakes with a real test, but one they should look forward to as they aim to become a playoff team this year.
History is not on San Jose’s side in this fixture though, as the Earthquakes have only beaten Portland in one of their 13 MLS clashes over the past five seasons.
The Timbers travel to Avaya Stadium in high spirits. They came through a tricky season opener to Columbus – the team they beat in December’s MLS Cup Final – and were perhaps unlucky not to score more than two in that 2-1 victory.
Caleb Porter’s side are an extremely dangerous team when attacking and will expect to find the net against San Jose, despite only managing a 0-0 draw in last year’s corresponding fixture.
The Timbers have the chance to put six points on the board here and will look to become the early pace-setters in MLS with their fourth-straight regular season win on the road, carrying over from last term.
As mentioned above, last year’s clash at Avaya Stadium ended 0-0. However, the Timbers earned a 1-0 win at Providence Park in the only other game between the Western Conference sides last term and will be confident of stretching their unbeaten run against the Quakes to six in this one.
San Jose Earthquakes will receive a major boost as Matias Perez Garcia returns following his one-game suspension last weekend. However, Dominic Kinnear has five injury worries heading into this one. Marc Pelosi, Fatai Alashe, Cordell Cato and Jordan Stewart remain sidelined, while Andres Imperiale is a doubt.
Portland will be without Andy Thoma for around six weeks as he suffered a knee injury playing for the Timbers 2 side. Chris Klute is a doubt but should be available for selection by Sunday night. New signing Jack Barmby will hope to be available to make his Timbers debut, although Caleb Porter is expected to name the same side that beat Columbus last weekend.
San Jose Earthquakes’ form: W
Portland Timbers’ form: W
Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes have never opened an MLS season with back-to-back victories.
Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – It’s impossible to ignore ‘Wondo’. The Quakes forward netted the only goal last weekend with a trademark close-range finish. He is a constant threat to opposing defences and will need to outshine Liam Ridgewell and Nat Borchers to give San Jose a fighting chance on Sunday night.
San Jose Earthquakes 0-2 Portland Timbers – The Timbers will expect to make it two wins from two when they travel to San Jose on Sunday evening. San Jose only registered three shots-on-target in last week’s win over Colorado and didn’t threaten in the final third as much as they would have liked. The Quakes have failed to score in their last three games with Portland and might see that run stretch to four, as the Timbers look primed for a solid away win.