Timbers top Earthquakes 2-1, now unbeaten in 11 MLS matches
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Samuel Armenteros scored two goals and the Portland Timbers extended their MLS unbeaten streak to 11 matches with a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.
Armenteros scored during the 14th and 53rd minutes for the Timbers (8-3-5).
Portland, 0-3-2 to start the season, is tied for fourth in the West Division. The Timbers, who have an unbeaten streak of 13, counting U.S. Open Cup matches, haven’t lost since falling to Orlando on April 8. The Timbers, 8-0-3 during this run, have the longest unbeaten streak in the MLS this season. The franchise record is 15 matches.
“Overall, it was a good performance. I thought we played very well at some moments of the match, and it was very optimistic,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said.
San Jose (2-10-6) extended its winless streak to nine games. Florian Jungwirth scored the Earthquakes’ lone goal during the 87th minute.
Portland outshot the Earthquakes 19-14.
Armenteros gave Portland an early boost with his goal in the 14th minute. Midfielder Diego Valeri hit Armenteros in stride just inside the penalty box, and the Timbers forward easily blasted an 8-yard shot past Andrew Tarbell for a 1-0 lead. Valeri’s assist made him the 11th player in MLS history to have more than 60 career goals and 60 career assists.
Armenteros was on the verge of an enormous first half. During the 25th minute, he had a point-blank shot on goal that Tarbell deflected to the right. Just before halftime, Armenteros took a crack at a 14-yard bicycle kick that just missed the goal’s right corner.
Armenteros, acquired by Portland during the offseason, added a second goal early in the second half. Again fed by Valeri, Armenteros slipped past San Jose’s double team, then put a short left-footed shot under Tarbell’s arms for a 2-0 Timbers lead.
It was the second two-goal game this season for Armenteros, who has six goals in 15 games. Armenteros, who played in Italy in 2017, was an offseason acquisition by the Timbers.
“More playing time, confidence, rhythm, getting used to the change, to the players,” Armenteros said. “Haven’t been playing for a while. When all that settled in, I started feeling better and better.”
Valeri said Armenteros’ ability to create in space adds a weapon to a team that is clicking at high level.
“There’s a chemistry in the way we’re playing. That’s why I’m really happy,” Valeri said. “It wasn’t an easy game. We played a good game in the first half, put in a lot of effort. I’m happy about the performance.”
San Jose added some intrigue to the game’s finish. Jungwirth hit a 15-yard shot that Timbers’ goalie Jeff Attinella partially deflected, but the ball had enough momentum to trickle into the goal’s left corner, cutting the deficit to 2-1.