Soccer: U.S. Open Cup: San Jose Earthquakes at Portland Timbers
When I saw this game show up on the schedule I knew I had to go. My Earthquakes visiting Portland? A no brainer! Of course it is early in the Open Cup so the Quakes used a reduced line-up (and still won easily), but it was great to see DeRo and Mullan and Brad Davis and a lot of other Quakes play in person again. The team struggled slightly for the first ten minutes, showing a little vacation rust (they've been on the All-Star break), but they soon got going and easily dominated Portland. In the second half, Portland had some good chances, including one pass across an open goal mouth and a header during a scramble that hit the crossbar. But the Quakes squandered a bunch of chances, looking dangerous many times. The two goals were capitalizing on Timber mistakes. In the first half, Davis got in a good cross from the left and Wade Barrett was left unmarked in the Portland box and easily finished. In the second, it was Mullan, on a one-on-one with the keeper (former Quake Josh Saunders), who drew Josh out and deftly flicked it around him for an easy two goal lead. Portland made a big push at the end and while exciting, it was to no avail, as the Quakes move on in the Open Cup.
PGE Park, where the Timbers play, is a weird stadium. It's apparently a baseball stadium and the seats and stands wrap only around one half. That makes it difficult to see action on the far side of the field. Still, the view isn't bad, and I liked the atmosphere (the chainsaw-reving guy was awesome). The concessions were excellent (great pizza) and even the prices weren't bad (not as high as Seattle). The only really bad thing is the parking, which is non-existent. I had to park at least a half-mile away. Not fun. I think next time I'll definitely look into public transportation (which goes right to the stadium). Overall, though, great night for soccer. My Quakes won, but Portland didn't embarrass themselves, and I had fun.