Timbers Clinch Berth in Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs with 3-1 Win over San Jose Earthquakes
PORTLAND, Ore. - Receiving goals from three different players, the Portland Timbers clinched a berth in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes in front of 25,218 fans at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon. Larrys Mabiala opened the scoring for Portland in the first half, while Dairon Asprilla and Sebastián Blanco tallied second-half goals to help the Timbers qualify for the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
Finishing as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, Portland will travel to face third-seed Real Salt Lake in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 19. Beginning at 7 p.m. (Pacific), the match features a national television broadcast on ESPNEWS, with local radio broadcasts on 750 AM The Game (English) and La GranD 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).
Timbers in the MLS Cup Playoffs
With the win, the Timbers (14-13-7, 49pts) secured a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for a third straight season, and the fifth time (2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019) in the club's MLS history. It marks the first time Portland has made three consecutive appearances in the postseason across all eras of the club. The Timbers' first round matchup against Real Salt Lake marks the second time the two sides meet in the playoffs. Portland and Real Salt Lake squared off in the two-legged Western Conference Championship in 2013.
On the attack
Blanco recorded his sixth goal of the season in the match, while Asprilla and Mabiala each tallied their second goals of 2019. Asprilla also recorded his first assist of the campaign. Asprilla is the 15th different player to register an assist for the Timbers in a league match this season. Jorge Villafaña delivered his fifth assist of the season, which ranks as the third-most assists by a Timbers player in 2019.
Against San Jose
Portland extended its unbeaten streak at home against San Jose to 12 games (9-0-3), improving to 11-5-7 in the all-time MLS regular-season series. Notably, Portland won its seventh straight home match against the Earthquakes, dating back to Oct. 8, 2014. In their last seven home games against the Earthquakes, the Timbers have outscored San Jose by a margin of 23-9, including three consecutive matches with at least two goals.
Starting the match on the front foot, Jorge Moreira received the ball on the right side, turned toward the middle of the field and surged toward the goal before unleashing a long-range strike that went just wide the right post in the seventh minute.
The Timbers took a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute. Villafaña slotted a ball from the left edge of the box to the top of the six-yard box and Mabiala directed the ball past San Jose goalkeeper Daniel Vega into the back of the net.
The Earthquakes leveled the match at 1-1 in the 39th minute. Off a short corner kick, Cristian Espinoza delivered a ball to the right post for Chris Wondolowski, who redirected the ball with a diving header inside the left post.
Against the run of play, Blanco weaved his way through traffic and delivered a swerving strike from the top of the box that was headed for the right corner of the goal, but Vega dove to his left at full extension to push the ball wide in the 54th minute.
Portland took a 2-1 lead in the 59th minute as Asprilla scored for a second consecutive game. Receiving the ball from Jeremy Ebobisse at the edge of the box, Asprilla dribbled past his defender and fired a shot from inside the box that was saved, but he pounced on the loose ball and finished into the left corner.
The Timbers nearly added a third goal in the 63rd minute on the counter-attack. Blanco chased down a loose ball that took a deflection off an Earthquakes player, dribbled toward the goal and played a pass to Cristhian Paredes, who hit a low hard shot from the center of the box that forced a save by Vega.
Blanco increased Portland's lead to 3-1 in the 75th minute, bending a direct free kick from just outside the box around the San Jose wall and inside the right post for his sixth goal of the season.
The Timbers qualified for the postseason (2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019) for the fifth time in their MLS history.
Portland secured a berth in the playoffs for a third consecutive season, marking the first time across all eras in which the club has qualified for the postseason in three straight seasons.
Head coach Giovanni Savarese has led the Timbers to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons with the club. Dating back to 1975, Savarese is the second head coach to make the playoffs in each of his first two seasons, joining Bob Howe (2001, 2002).
Portland has won five consecutive regular-season home finales, outscoring its opponents 13-3 in those matches.
Dating back to 2011, the Timbers are 5-2-2 in regular-season finales.
Portland extended its unbeaten streak at home against San Jose to 12 games (9-0-3), including seven consecutive wins during that span.
Sebastián Blanco scored his sixth goal of the season in the match. With the goal, Blanco became the seventh Timbers player to score direct from a free kick in MLS play.
Larrys Mabiala scored his second goal of the season. Mabiala has seven career MLS goals, which is the most by a Timbers defender in their Portland career.
For the first time in a regular-season match, Dairon Asprilla delivered a goal and an assist in the same game after accomplishing this feat twice in postseason play.
Asprilla recorded his first assist of the 2019, becoming the 15th player to register an assist for the club in league play this season.
Jeremy Ebobisse finished the season as the only Timbers player to appear in every regular-season match for the club. He is the third Timbers player to play in all 34 games in a season for Portland.
Portland will square off against third-seed Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first round of the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs on Saturday, Oct. 19. Beginning at 7 p.m. (Pacific), the match features a national television broadcast on ESPNEWS, with local radio broadcasts on 750 The Game (English) and La GranD 1150AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).
Portland Timbers (14-13-7, 49pts) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (13-16-5, 44pts)
Oct. 6, 2019 - Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 1 2 3
San Jose Earthquakes 1 0 1
POR: Mabiala (Villafaña, Asprilla), 29
SJ: Wondolowski (Espinoza, Yueill), 39
POR: Asprilla, 59
POR: Blanco, 75
SJ: Jungwirth (caution), 43
SJ: Judson (caution), 51
POR: Chara (caution), 65
SJ: Kashia (caution), 74
POR: Moreira (caution), 79
POR: Loría (caution), 85
SJ: Rios (caution), 90+2
POR: GK Clark, D Moreira (Moreira, 81), D Mabiala (Dielna), D Tuiloma, D Villafaña, M Chara ©, M Paredes, M Asprilla, M Blanco, M Polo, F Ebobisse (Loría, 81)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Ivacic, D Farfan, M Zambrano, M Williamson
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Blanco, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Three players tied, 2); FOULS: 19 (Chara, 7); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 3
SJ: GK Vega, D Lima, D Kashia, D Jungwirth (Ríos, 61), D López (Hoesen, 66), M Judson, M Yueill, M Espinoza, M Eriksson, M Qazaishvili (Salinas, 61), F Wondolowski ©
Substitutes Not Used: GK Tarbell, D Cummings, M Godoy, F Fierro
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Eriksson, Espinoza, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 13 (Judson, 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 5
Referee: Rubiel Vazquez
Assistant Referees: Logan Brown, Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Luis Guardia
VAR: Tim Ford
Weather: Clear, 63 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial
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