The Quakes play their first of three matches versus the Portland Timbers Football Club tonight at Avaya Stadium. The Quakes (3-3-3) sit in sixth in the West. The Timbers (5-2-2) are just one point behind Sporting KC for first place. Portland exorcised their road demons from 2016 and boast a 2-1-1 road record while the Quakes are undefeated at home (2-0-2).
Head to head, Portland has a history of domination. The Quakes are 2-7-7 against their northern neighbors. At home, the Quakes have partially held serve with a 2-1-4 record.
So far in 2017, both San Jose and Portland have 39 shots on goal, and San Jose has the edge in overall shot attempts 119-110. The difference is that Portland can place their shots in positions which challenge opposing ‘keepers. The Timbers are the only team in MLS in which goalies average less than two saves per game (1.95), which means that their shots on goal have the best chances of scoring. By comparison, the Quakes co-lead MLS in opposing ‘keeper saves at 4.33 per game. Simply put, the Timbers place their shots to score while the Quakes place their shots to be saved. This is why the Timbers lead MLS in overall goals with 20, with the duo of Fanendo Adi and Diego Valeri sporting two more combined goals (11) that the entire Quakes team (nine).
The good news for Quakes fans: Darlington Nagbe is injured and listed as “Out” for today’s match, and teammate Diego Valeri is listed as “Questionable.” Expect Valeri to play, and expect David Bingham to be challenged early and often. Portland will probably run a single-forward 4-2-3-1 formation with Adi at the top, Dairon Asprilla, Valeri, and Darren Mattocks in the midfield; if Valeri cannot start, expect Sebastian Blanco in a the #10. Diego Chara and David Guzman will probably start as the defensive mids. Alvas Powell, Lawrence Olum, Liam Ridgewell, and Vy Andriuskevicius on the back line. Jeff Attinella will be in goal.
I have inside information the Quakes starting XI, so I won’t post any lineup or formation predictions.
The Quakes will be hard-pressed to take any points, even a draw. While San Jose has remained stagnant since 2013 by consistently finishing out of the playoffs, the Timbers have show themselves to be a dynamic club that can adjust the team yearly to make themselves winners when coming off a poor season. While I do not think Portland will put up three goals with Nagbe missing from the lineup, the stats say they will put up at least two goals with both Valeri and Adi in the XI. Meanwhile the Quakes will attempt shots, but due to their lack of finishing, San Jose probably won’t score more than one. The stats say 2-1 Timbers for the Quakes’ first home loss of the season. I will also predict Wondo gets his ninth versus Portland (he’s due for a goal, and usually finds a way to piss off PTFC fans), and Adi accounts for one of two PTFC goals.