Timbers beat Earthquakes 2-1, extend unbeaten streak to 7

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Dairon Asprilla scored in the 71st minute to give Portland a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night, extending the Timbers’ unbeaten streak to seven.

Jaroslaw Niezgoda also scored to help the Timbers improve to 4-0-3 since the start of June.

The Timbers are unbeaten in 16 straight matches against the Earthquakes at Providence Park, outscoring San Jose 31-11.

Benjamin Kikanovic scored for the Earthquakes, who had lost just two of their last six on the road.

The Timbers moved into seventh place and playoff position in the Western Conference, a point above the Seattle Sounders.

“There was an understanding that we needed to be much better than then we were at the beginning of the season,” Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said about the current streak. “And there was more emphasis on details, to make sure that the guys were able to work a little harder on those details. I think once you start getting good results, the belief grows and the competition grows within the team as well.”

Asprilla had a few good chances early on, including a blast that went just wide in the 14th minute. Portland goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic made a key save in the 27th on Marcos Lopez’s header off a cross.

But the Quakes broke the stalemate in the 42nd on Kikanovic’s goal from close in to take the lead into the break. The goal followed three straight yellow cards handed to Portland players in a span of three minutes.

Portland pulled even in the 53rd when Yimmi Chara’s shot caromed off of Niezgoda and into the goal. It was his fifth goal in the last five games.

Asprilla finally broke through with a header that sailed past San Jose goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. Asprilla celebrated with a backflip.

“When I have confidence, it’s easier work for me,” Asprilla said.

Cristian Espinoza nearly equalized for San Jose but his shot in the 89th minute came off the post.

“I think we had a very good first half. We got our chances to score here — which is not easy,” San Jose interim coach Alex Covelo said.

The Earthquakes are in second-to-last place in the West.

Portland was without Sebastian Blanco because of yellow card accumulation.

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