After a pair of missed opportunities over the weekend, the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes will meet on Wednesday for the first of two consecutive games in the Bay Area.
Portland had an early lead on the road at Los Angeles FC on Sunday but could not hold on in an eventual 4-2 defeat that came after an inspired 2-1 road victory over the rival Seattle Sounders.
The Earthquakes managed to move on from a humbling 7-1 defeat to the Sounders last week and restored order on the defensive end, finishing with a 0-0 tie to the surging Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.
The Timbers and Quakes now meet for the first game of a back-to-back scenario. They will play each other again on Saturday in San Jose.
The Timbers (4-4-2, 14 points) were unable to stop an LAFC onslaught, surrendering three goals in a nine-minute stretch at the end of the first half, including a goal in first-half stoppage time.
Eryk Williamson and Jeremy Ebobisse scored for Portland, but Diego Valeri's free kick from 20 yards out, that would have tied the game in the 62nd minute, hit off the right post. It was a solid effort in the Timbers' first game without Sebastian Blanco, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
"I mentioned many times in the past few days that (Blanco) is irreplaceable," Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said. "There's going to be another player that can step in, but we're not looking to substitute him because he is unique. Nevertheless, I thought (against LAFC) we had players that showed their character, they showed their ability, they showed that they're able to step on the field and be important."
Not only did the Earthquakes (2-4-4, 10 points) recover against the Galaxy after giving up seven goals in their previous game, they held off a Los Angeles attack that saw striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez return to action after a calf injury cost him two months of playing time.
"We wanted to come out with unity," Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill said. "We wanted to be a team again and to press like a team. I think against the Sounders, we were missing a little bit of that aggression and that team bond that we carry with us. Our goal (against L.A.) was to be aggressive, to be confident in one another, trust each other, and play for the guy next to you."
--Field Level Media