Chris Wondolowski netted twice as the San Jose Earthquakes defeated the Portland Timbers 3-0 in an inspiring victory on Saturday night. Returning home to Avaya Stadium after a three-game road trip, Dominic Kinnear’s men made a statement with a dominant victory that reasserted their playoff ambitions.
The Quakes previously notched three against the Vancouver Whitecaps earlier in the season, but this performance was a cut above the rest for its swagger, its verve in midfield, and a certain sophistication to their play.
Portland were without star playmakers Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri, which presented the Quakes with a favorable opportunity to maintain their home winless streak. They made this good fortune count.
Kinnear started the same lineup as in Minnesota with Danny Hoesen once again in a wide role, a move that paid dividends as the Dutchman’s cross set up Hyka for an early go-ahead goal. The Albanian midfielder scored with the last kick of the club’s previous home match against FC Dallas, and it took him just seven minutes to double his season tally with a scrappy finish after the ball pinged around the box and Wondo’s deflection set up a simple tap-in.
Backup Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella suffered a shaky first-half, misjudging an early long-ball and spilling Hoesen’s bouncing effort from twenty-five yards. Invigorated by their early success, the Quakes continued to pelt the Portland goal from long-range, and their efforts were rewarded on the half-hour mark as Wondolowski curled home a second goal from the edge of the penalty area.
Portland simply couldn’t handle the movement of the home side’s midfield, with Hoesen and Hyka constantly switching sides to sow confusion among the Portland backline as they attempted to defend two wildly different threats. The defensive capacity of Anibal Godoy and Darwin Ceren also allowed center-back Florian Jungwirth to push higher up the midfield on the ball, and the German defender notched his second assist of the night as he slipped in an incisive through-ball for Wondolowski to finish in the fifty-fifth minute.
Portland regained their footing as the proceedings began to wind down, forcing David Bingham into brilliant reaction stops from substitute Victor Arboleda and Sebastián Blanco, but tonight the game was over before they could ever get going.