- Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers
- Maestro Diego Valeri assisted on all three Timbers goals during Portland's 3-3 draw with San Jose on Sunday. "The goal in this sport is to score goals," he laughed. "We play to score, and we couldn't."
As Caleb Porter walked into his postgame press conference following the Portland Timbers' frustrating 3-3 draw with fellow playoff contender San Jose, a PTFC staffer offered the less-than-pleased coach a stat sheet.
Porter declined, and as he walked to the lectern, he mumbled under his breath: "I know the stats."
Did he ever.
Portland rattled off 32 shots on Sunday—a team record and the third most by any Major League Soccer team, ever. The Timbers managed 13 of those shots on goal—a franchise best—and had more corners (16) than a wadded up piece of aluminum. The Timbers played their best opening 20 minutes of the season—perhaps in its history as an MLS club—but the "same old story" that's plagued them in 2014 was just as pronounced as the gaudy numbers.
"To get 32 shots, you have to be a damn good team," Porter said at his presser. "We probably could've scored 10 goals, realistically. I'm not joking—10 goals."
Yet Portland still found itself down two goals in the second half. They rallied—twice—and managed an improbable draw with a pair of game-tying goals—first on a Liam Ridgwell goal in the 75th and again when sub Kalif Alhassan struck in the 86th minute. Porter joked that fans are certainly getting their money's worth from Portland this season, though if the locker room was any indication, such high entertainment value has become somewhat taxing.
"Every time we seem to take a step forward, we take a step backward the next week with our defensive ways," said Timbers captain Will Johnson. "Anytime you score three goals at home, you should win. That's the bottom line. We're standing here frustrated because we only got a point."
Click past the jump for more, including video of Porter's press conference, [UNSPONSORED] Moments of the Match and quotes from the ever-dominant Diego Valeri.
Valeri assisted on all three Timbers goals, and told me post-game that he feels like Portland is playing well enough to win—minus those pesky goals, of course.
"It's a strange feeling," he said. "We are confident because we can see every game that we play like a winning team. We know that we can make the playoffs."
After jumping over the fabled "red line" with a win at rival Vancouver last week, the Timbers are in a tight, four-way race for the final playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference. Porter said it's not the time to "nitpick" tactics and other little things. At this point, it's time to focus on getting points if they want any chance at the postseason.
"We have to continue to do it the hard way," Porter said. "It doesn't matter how you do it."
PORTER'S POSTGAME PRESSER:
[UNSPONSORED] Moments of the Match:
2nd minute—Portland comes out of the locker room like a house on fire and nearly net one right away. Fanendo Adi dishes to Gaston Fernandez, who dummies a ball to Valeri. He fires a shot, but Busch is there to collect it. Nice early chance accentuated seconds later by a Diego Chara shot from distance that sails wide. Very aggressive start for the home side: They clearly came to play on a sunny afternoon that's left plenty of empty seats at Providence Park.
19th—Back-to-back near-goals for Portland. The lastest one from Portland's seventh corner of the match(!) so far. Valeri sends a curler into the box for Adi, who left-footed volleys it just over the net. Timbers scrapping like a cat thrown in a bath tub, and San Jose is completely along for the ride.
21st—SAN JOSE GOAL! Because, of course. A jailbreak in front leads to a shot from Shea Salinas. After some ping-pong, he gets his own rebound and fires into the post, and rebound goes to Chris Wondolowski, who nets it home. A metaphor for the season thus far? You bet. Timbers dominate all match, only to give one up on a crazy sequence. Set up by some downright disastrous defensive play in front to let Salinas get free in the box in the first place.
48th—SAN JOSE GOAL! Well, then. Cordell Cato finds his way into the box and dishes to Wondo, whose pass is deflected by Kah right back to Cato. He blisters a curler last a diving Ricketts, who has no chance. Both Ridgewell and Pa Kah were within striking distance on that one, but neither could make a play and San Jose has stunned this stadium.
54th—TIMBERS GOAL! It's Alvas Powell running along the goal line. The youngster chests a ball down from Valeri in the box and all by himself knocks a shot along the line and sneaks it into the goal. Great individual effort there, and Portland is right back in this one.
75th—TIMBERS GOAL! And we're level. Ridgewell with his second MLS goal, from right in front of the net. Long ball played in front by Valeri for diving Alhassan, who gets just enough of a foot on it kicks it ahead to Ridgewell. He battles with a SJ defender in front and somehow pokes it home.
85th—SAN JOSE GOAL! Wondo with an absolute dagger, completely unmarked in front. You might want to mark that dude.
86th—TIMBERS GOAL! Wait, what? Alhassan slots one home to tie it back up and answer. Wow, this match cray.
90+2—Valeri lines up a free kick from 30 yards and juuuuuuuuust misses bending it in. That would've been ridiculous, which would have been par for the course in this one.
OFFICIAL RECAP from the Timbers:
Midfielder Diego Valeri tied an MLS career-high with three assists and the Portland Timbers received second-half goals from defenders Alvas Powell, Liam Ridgewell and substitute midfielder Kalif Alhassan in a come-from-behind, 3-3 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,814 at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Timbers (8-8-11, 35pts) tallied the third-most shots in a single game in MLS history (32), and set MLS-club-record marks in shots on goal (13) and corner kicks (16) while consistently pressuring the San Jose defense. Maintaining nearly 58 percent of the possession in a dominant offensive performance, Portland attempted 19 shots in the first half, but conceded two goals against the run of play in the opening 48 minutes. Battling back from the two-goal deficit, Powell netted his second goal in as many games in the 54th minute and Ridgewell tallied his second career MLS goal for Portland with a one-time shot off a cross from Valeri in the 74th minute to tie the score, 2-2.
Forward Chris Wondolowski, who registered a brace for San Jose (6-10-9, 27pts), tallied the go-ahead goal off a header in the 85th minute. Wondolowski put the Earthquakes in the lead with a rebound off a shot from midfielder Shea Salinas in the 21st minute before midfielder Cordell Cato made it a two-goal lead for San Jose in the 48th minute, capitalizing on a deflected ball behind the Portland defense.
Portland has registered at least one point in six of its last eight matches (4-2-2), while moving into sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference standings with seven matches remaining on the regular-season schedule. Alhassan, who entered the match in the 61st minute, netted the game-tying goal with a close-range effort following passes from Valeri and Powell in the 86th minute. The goal was Alhassan’s first of the season for Portland and extended the Timbers’ home unbeaten streak against San Jose to five consecutive matches (2-0-3).
The Timbers forced San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch to make 10 saves, including six saves in the opening 16 minutes of the match. Valeri registered individual Timbers’ MLS single-game records in shots (9) and shots on goal (5), while tying his own MLS single-game club record with three assists. Valeri now ranks tied for second in MLS with 12 assists and is one assist shy of tying his own club MLS single-season record of 13 assists set in 2013.
• Portland attempted the third-most shots in a single game in MLS history (32) on Sunday against San Jose.
• Along with setting an MLS-club record in shots (32), the Timbers also tallied MLS club-record marks in shots on goal (13) and corner kicks (16).
• Midfielder Diego Valeri set individual Timbers MLS single-game records in shots (9) and shots on goal (5), while also matching his own MLS single-game record in assists (3). The multi-assist performance was the seventh of Valeri’s MLS career and moved the midfielder into a tie for second place overall among MLS league leaders with 12 assists in 2014.
• Valeri has tallied at least one point in seven of the last 10 regular-season games for the Timbers, including five goals and four assists.
• With three assists on Sunday, Valeri has registered 10 or more assists in consecutive seasons.
• Valeri becomes just the second Timbers player all-time (all eras) to register 12 or more assists in consecutive seasons, joining NASL Timbers midfielder John Bain (14 in 1980, 12 in 1981).
• According to Opta, Valeri leads the league in chances created (83) in 2014. His 12 chances created on Sunday ranks as the most in a single match in MLS this season.
• Valeri attempted a Timbers MLS single-game record 14 corner kicks on Sunday against San Jose.
• Portland tied a Timbers MLS-club record with 19 shots in the first half, matching the mark set in the second half on June 11 in a 2-2 draw against FC Dallas at Providence Park.
• With the draw, Portland takes over sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference standings with 35 points through 27 regular-season matches.
• Sunday’s draw marked the second time the Timbers have battled back from a two-goal deficit to record a draw this season. Portland also overcame a two-goal deficit on June 11 in a 2-2 draw against FC Dallas at Providence Park.
• Midfielder Kalif Alhassan netted his first goal of the season on Sunday. The game-tying goal was Alhassan’s fifth-career MLS goal for Portland.
• The Timbers have earned at least one point in six of their last eight matches (4-2-2).
• Sunday’s crowd of 20,814 marked the 65th consecutive sellout at Providence Park. The Timbers have sold out every regular-season match at Providence Park since their inaugural MLS season in 2011.
• The Timbers have battled back to earn at least one point in 13 of 19 matches when conceding the first goal this season.