The San Jose ‘Quakes vs Portland Timbers, while early in the 2016 season, is shaping up to be the next Mayweather vs Pacquioa fight except without the domestic abuse and hate speech. Those guys are truly butt-farts. I digress. Let’s give this match the old HotFooty breakdown:
Portland Timbers at San Jose Earthquakes
March 13, 7:00pm EST
Avaya Stadium, San Jose, California
Portland, do you like momentum on your latte?
After a very good win against Columbus last weekend, Portland is feeling like they just finished a fresh cup of hand dripped roast and are ready to head out to the trail to find berries for harvest. In other words, they should be way more confident than they were just a week prior after pre-season. Diego Valeri looked in mid-season form and despite giving up a sick biked goal to Columbus’ Higuain, the defense was very solid. New guy Jermaine Taylor shut down a deadly Findlay, and Ridgewell and Borchers looked very solid in the center against the goal fiend Kei Kamara (who I think is just a top notch dude. Great hair, great attitude, great choice of 90’s dream jobs). I gave Asprilla a hard time in my recap of the match for basically looking lethargic out on the left wing and being about as efficient as the DMV, but the reality is that he was often open to make runs. I’m hoping Melano can do the same on the right and really spread out the attack, which should leave even more room for Nagbe and Valeri to wreak havoc on the San Jose defensive midfielders and centerbacks.
San Jose Earthquakes, really, that’s your team name?
It’s just a terrible team name in all honesty. What happens if there is an earthquake that destroys San Jose? It’s going to be a bit awkward, won’t it? Let’s move on.
The ‘Quakes barely squeaked out a win against a rebuilding Colorado Rapids team (who is rebuilding fast) and are looking to build some of their own momentum. Their squad looked fairly inept against the Rapids and only scored when a Wondolowski header put them up while the Rapids were still waking up from halftime. There were a few bright spots for them, but after a dismal pre-season and a shaky performance in week 1, they are going to be looking for something big against the Timbers to kickstart their season. My seismometer tells me that the ‘Quakes are not really strong this year. Last season they faced the Timbers twice and did not score a goal in either game, losing one and drawing one.
What to watch for
Chris Wondolowski vs Borchers and Ridgewell: The veteran Wondo has been known to score some goals, so despite his age he’s going to be a menace to Borchers and Ridgewell in the middle. They’ve handled him with aplomb in the past, but anytime you’ve handled someone with aplomb they’re usually looking to make a statement the next time you meet. It really though all depends on…
Quincy Amarikwa vs Everyone: He’s a journeyman, making his way back to the ‘Quakes after leaving there to play bit parts in Colorado, Toronto, Chicago, and he’s ready to do just about anything to keep his starting spot in the squad. He had a solid game against the Rapids and Wondolowski seems to like him, but no matter what he’s going to be busting his ass out there to make a difference. Expect to see Borchers, Ridgewell, and Taylor taking cracks at him throughout the match along with Chara trying to cut off his holdup play a bit further up the pitch.
Kip Colvey vs Melano: Kip Colvey came in at left back for the injured Shaun Francis at halftime against the Rapids, and although he looked very solid out there, I expect Caleb Porter to test this guy big time with Melano. If Melano can get some space and make some moves early in the game it might force ‘Quakes coach Dominic Kinnear to give Colvey some help which would open up room for the Timbers dangerous midfield.
David Bingham vs Timbers attack: David Bingham had a heck of a game against the Rapids, making two critical stops in the second half to ensure the win. He’s also been called up to the USMNT and even got a cap against Canada but didn’t need to make any saves during the match. He’s a top quality guy who had 12 clean sheets last year and at 26 should only get better with experience.
Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri attack vs ‘Quakes defense: These two continue to impress, and I’m expecting big things out of them against a defense that let up the third fewest goals in the western conference last year. Expect Valeri to be lingering a bit high up the pitch in between the center back while Nagbe collects the ball at midfield and makes runs up the gut and off of Valeri into the box. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a nice one-time give and go goal on Sunday out of these two.
HotFooty prediction: ‘Quakes 0-3 Timbers
I think the Timbers are going to start getting their offensive groove back very quickly after seeing them in regular season action last week.
“Yeah feel the Bern! right, Nag-dogg?” said Valeri. “You’re drunk” quipped Nagbe as he carried his irritating but somehow still charming companion home. End scene