Portland Timbers 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes
After watching the USA trounce Japan in the Women's World Cup Final, we had an MLS match to take care of before ending our Independence Day weekend. The first half of this one was highlighted by some dubious officiating, particularly from the assistant referee on the Timbers Army side of the field. The first questionable call thwarted a San Jose scoring chance. Alvas Powell handled the ball on the line to keep it out of the net in the 24th minute. Powell may have been lucky to have remained in the game. He could have been red carded for handballing an obvious goal.
The next weird play came in the 40th minute when Diego Valeri thought he had the first goal of the match. Valeri collected a pass and was clearly offside, but the assistant kept his flag down as the Argentinian scored. Referee Ricardo Salazar stepped in to make the correct call and the goal was not counted. Portland got hosed again at the beginning of first half stoppage time. Dairon Asprilla was jacked in the face with an elbow by Jordan Stewart along the right touchline near the corner. It should have been a foul and a yellow card, but nothing was whistled.
Aside from the officiating, there was a decent game going on. Other than the situation that led to the Powell non-handball, Portland controlled the pace of the game. They came close a few times, but were unable to push one across to break the deadlock in the first half.
The second half was filled with Timbers attacks and shots being fired at David Bingham's goal. Despite all the chances, the closest the Timbers came to a goal was in the 87th minute when Gaston Fernandez thought he had a header in the net, but he was called offside. The winner finally came in the first minute of stoppage time when Diego Valeri took a free kick that bounced around in the area until Jack Jewsbury flew in to sneak it past Bingham.
The Timbers extend their home winning streak to five games, a franchise record for the MLS era. More importantly, they jump to third place and are within a point of first in the crowded West. San Jose stays below the red line, two points behind Sporting Kansas City in sixth place.