Fanendo Adi recorded his 10th brace in Major League Soccer on Saturday. The Nigerian striker completed that task as a substitute to deliver the 3-1 victory for the Portland Timbers on Saturday at Providence Park against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Timbers and the Quakes rolled up their sleeves
This match was a brawl. A combination of 20 fouls, 27 tackles, 94 duels, 37 clearances, three yellow cards and a red card summed up the 90 minutes; both clubs were fighting for the full three points in this match. The Timbers were searching for their second victory and the Quakes were attempting to climb up the standings with a victory on the road.
In result of that aggressiveness, the pace of the match was rapid and physical. There were so many stops in the game that the referee gave nine minutes of stoppage time at the end of the second half. However, Portland and San Jose were able to create multiple chances on the offensive end.
The two Western Conference clubs created a total of 29 shots and nine of them were on target. The attacks in this match did not just come down the middle but also on the flanks. In total there were 45 attempted crosses in the match. The Northern California club whipped in 32 passes themselves.
The breakthrough finally comes
With the two clubs offenses’ running on all cylinders the only surprise was that it took until the 52nd minute to register the first goal in this match. Timbers’ forward Jack McInerney opened his scoring account with Portland on Saturday out of pure persistence.
The play appeared to be dead with a poor first touch from the former U.S. youth international. McInerney’s heavy touch made the ball roll perfectly to San Jose’s defender Kip Colvey.
The Quakes defender had the ball in his feet in the heart of the penalty box. Colvey failed to clear the ball quick enough before McInerney was able to react. The striker slid for the ball and won the tackle. McInerney rose up quickly and fired a low hard shot to the bottom left hand corner of the net to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead.
Adi enters the pitch and changes the outcome
Then the game changed when Portland’s head coach Caleb Porter subbed in Adi for Darren Mattocks in the 63rd minute. It only took the Nigerian forward two minutes to make an impact in the match.
Portland’s Lucas Melano started the play by running down the center of the pitch with the ball. He saw Adi coming down the left hand side and sent him a pass. Then the Nigerian ran down the flank right next to the penalty box. He then dished out a pass to Diego Valeri, who was making a run to the top of the box.
The Argentinean playmaker made a quick stutter step to the right in attempt to lose the defender. He then fired the shot but the Quakes player recovered and deflected his chance.
The ball appeared to be rolling harmlessly towards San Jose’s center back Victor Bernández near the penalty spot. However, Adi stepped in the way and recovered the ball. He then quickly fired a shot to the right hand corner of the net to double the lead at 2-0 for the Timbers.
San Jose responds
The Quakes, after going down 2-0, kept on pushing the tempo and searched for their break through. San Jose easily won the battle for possession by more than 20 percent.
San Jose also completed 85 percent of their 602 passes. They were moving the ball around the pitch and created 16 shots in the match. However, the goal did not come until the 90th minute.
U.S. international forward Chris Wondolowski was brought down in the penalty box by Timbers’ center back Nat Borchers. The referee, Chris Penso, wasted no time and rewarded the road club a penalty and showed Borchers a yellow card in the process.
Now the Timbers’ second string goalkeeper Jake Gleeson was being called into action. Porter was forced to bring in Gleeson after his starting goalie Adam Kwarasey left the game with an injury in the 50th minute.
Captain Wondolowski stepped up to take the penalty, and calmly blasted the ball down the middle of the net to cut the lead 2-1. The U.S. international striker scored his sixth goal in seven matches.
Then the Quakes received break as Valeri was shown his second yellow card in the 95th minute. The Northern California club was now going to be playing with a man advantage for the rest of the match. However, it was Portland that was able to seal the three points a few minutes later.
Adi and Portland will not quit
In the 99th minute the Timbers started a counter attack right after clearing an attempted cross from the Quakes. McInerney controlled the clearance near his team’s penalty box. He wasted no time and sent Melano running down the left hand side of the pitch with an accurate long ball.
Melano controlled the ball and within the blink of an eye his raw speed smoked the defender. He was in the box and San Jose’s goalkeeper David Bingham came out to challenge Melano.
The Argentinean forward held on to the ball for a second and then sent a low cross to Adi. The Nigerian striker had an empty net in front of him when he received the ball in the center of the box. He calmly controlled the pass and tapped the ball into the back of the net to complete the brace and secure the 3-1 victory for Portland.
Where they stand, who they face next?
With this result the Timbers climbed from ninth place to seventh with eight points. As for the Quakes they dropped from fourth to sixth and they still have 11 points.
San Jose next match will be on Sunday when they host Sporting Kansas City at Avaya Stadium. The Timbers will not be back in action till Wednesday, April 27th when they travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Revolution.