Bright Dike (19) scores for the Timbers to earn a 1-1 draw vs. San Jose

The Portland Timbers finished off their 2012 regular season on a rainy Saturday night in the Rose City with a 1-1 draw with the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes in front of another sold out crowd of 20,438 at Portland’s JELD-WEN Field. San Jose would take a first half lead on a penalty kick by Chris Wondolowski, but the Timbers would earn the equalizer in the second half on a goal by Bright Dike.  With the draw, the Timbers remain undefeated against San Josein their brief MLS history.

Neither team seriously threatened until the 14th minute, when San Jose’s Shea Salinas made a good run into the box down the right side, forcing a sliding save by Portland defender David Horst.  On the ensuing corner kick, San Jose’s Steven Lenhart headed nicely towards net, with Salinas attempting to redirect the shot with his header, but sent it well over the crossbar.

In the 21st minute, San Jose’s Rafael Baca would have a good look from near the top of the box, but his low shot along the wet turf was smothered easily by Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.  The home side would finally threaten in the 23rd minute, when Sal Zizzo’s cross from the right side was dangerous but punched out by San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch.

Seconds later, San Jose would end up with Timbers fans considered a questionable penalty kick when Ricketts found himself out of position when charging out of the box to challenge Lenhart, and appeared to play the ball before any contact with the San Jose player, but center referee Mark Geiger disagreed and pointed to the spot.  Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, at this point one goal behind the all-time league record of 27 goals in a season would step up to take the shot, and slipped the ball just inside the left post to tie the league record, and give San Jose a 1-0 lead.

In the 29th minute, the Timbers nearly paid for a poor clearance when Zizzo’s bad pass fell right to the foot of Marvin Chavez, whose dipping shot from the top of the box slipped mere inches past the left post.

In the 39th minute, the visitors nearly paid for having trouble clearing the ball out of their box, with Portland’s Andrew Jean-Baptiste getting a good look at goal from the top of the box, but put his shot a yard over the box.  In the 45th minute, Timbers fans and Timbers players were screaming for a handball in the box when Baca appeared to handle the ball with his arm away from his body, but the Timbers haven’t been awarded a single penalty kick all year and that wasn’t going to change tonight, and the Earthquakes would lead 1-0 at the break.

The Timbers would attack more forcefully in the second half, and it didn’t take long to come close to scoring when in the 49th minute, a bad San Jose clearance fell to the foot of Horst, whose curving shot appeared to go off a San Jose defender and slipped just wide, though the Timbers were not awarded a corner on the play.

In the 62nd minute,San Jose’s Lenhart slipped in behind the defense though Jean-Baptise was able to recover to end the breakaway, but Lenhart did get a low shot on net but it was stopped easily by Ricketts.  Three minutes later, it was the Earthquakes threatening again when Wondolowski’s low shot was tipped wide by Ricketts, with Jean-Baptiste clearing the ball from in front of the open Timbers net.  Seconds later it was Wondolowski threatening to score again, with his header going just wide left.

But in the 67th minute, the Timbers would level the score when Dike would force a save from Busch, and was quicker to get to the rebound than the San Jose defense, following up his miss and putting the ball past Busch into the lower right corner of the net, and the match was level at 1-1.  Just over a minute later, a cross from Portland’s Steven Smith appeared to surprise Busch as it slipped past the right post by only a yard.  One minute later, it was San Jose threatening again as a dangerous cross by Baca forced Ricketts to go high and backwards awkwardly to just tip it over the bar.

San Jose would get a few late chances to steal the win in the last minute of regulation, with another dangerous cross by Baca forcing a nearly identical save by Ricketts, to once again tip the ball over the bar.  Off the ensuing corner kick, San Jose’s Ike Opera had an open header but wasn’t able to get much on the shot as the ball was slightly behind him,  and the shot was easily saved by Ricketts.

In stoppage time, Timbers second-half substitute Brent Richards played a nice pass into the run of Darlington Nagbe, but defender Jason Hernandez did well to slide in front of Nagbe’s shot to put the ball over the endline.  It would be the last chance for either side, and the match would end in a 1-1 draw.

Tonight’s match was the first time this season that the league-leading Earthquakes failed to protect a halftime lead, and the Timbers finish the season winning the series with a 1-0-2 record.  Donovan Ricketts finished the match with three saves while Jon Busch had one save for the visitors.

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