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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Portland Timbers halt San Jose Earthquakes' roll - San Jose Mercury News

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Earthquakes' three-game winning streak ended Tuesday night at Jeld-Wen Field as the struggling Portland Timbers built a two-goal lead and held on for a 2-1 victory.

The Earthquakes (11-4-3) entered the game atop the Western Conference and held a four-point cushion over Real Salt Lake but couldn't find their footing against the Timbers, who won for just the second time in five games. Despite dominating time of possession (57 percent to 43) the Quakes managed three fewer shots on goal (19-16).

Portland jumped out to a first-half lead when former No. 1 draft pick Danny Mwanga took a pass from Franck Songo'o and found the net in the 29th minute. Songo'o's run up the right flank followed two chances for the Quakes, but Rafael Baca's and Chris Wondoloski's shots went astray.

Mwanga's goal found the right corner past Quakes goalkeeper David Bingham, who was making just his second start of the season in place of injured Jon Busch. Busch suffered a swollen eye Saturday in a collision with Victor Bernardez.

Mwanga, who attended Jefferson High in Portland and Oregon State, returned to his home state when he was traded a month ago from Philadelphia. He had a solid all-around game, nearly netting his second goal moments into the second half when his attempt hit the cross bar.

Despite Mwanga's miss, the Timbers, who were seemingly feeding off the raucous crowd, took a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute as Timbers captain Jack

Jewsbury corralled a loose ball and nudged it into an open net.

Second-half substitute Marvin Chavez helped bring San Jose within striking distance in the 71st minute, finding Alan Gordon, who walloped home his sixth goal of the season.

But, it was the last of the scoring on the evening as the Quakes were unable to build any momentum and were kept off balance throughout much of the match by the Timbers' defense. The script was an unfamiliar one for the first-place Quakes, who came into the contest with a 6-2-1 road record and boasted five come-from-behind victories.

The league's leading goal scorer, Wondoloski, was unable to get many good looks on goal and perhaps out of frustration garnered a yellow card in the 77th minute for his takedown of Mwanga.

Portland, while winless on the road and mired in eighth place in the Western Conference, improved to a respectable 5-2-2 at Jeld-Wen Field.

The clubs felt each other out for much of the game's first 20 minutes until Mwanga netted the ball past the Bingham. Despite their penchant for coming from behind, it was a deficit the Quakes wouldn't recover from.

Portland's Danny Mwanga, the first overall MLS draft pick of 2010, took a beautiful pass from Franck Songo'o in the 30th minute and scored to give the struggling Timbers a 1-0 halftime lead.

Mwanga, who attended Jefferson High in Portland and Oregon State University, returned to his home state of Oregon when he was traded a month ago from Philadelphia.

  • Quakes midfielder Shea Salinas returned to the starting lineup for the first time since fracturing his clavicle against the New York Red Bulls on April 1.

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