PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored two goals and the Portland Timbers won their fifth straight match with a 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.
Felipe Mora also scored for Portland (9-4-3), which is tied with the defending champion Seattle Sounders with 30 points atop the Western Conference. It was Portland’s third shutout in its last four games.
“It’s a team effort, but we’re doing the little things right,” said goalkeeper Steve Clark, who had seven saves. “We’re preaching, details, details, little things.”
After a scoreless first half in rainy conditions, Diego Chara served up a cross to Niezgoda for a header a minute into the second.
Niezgoda, who is from Poland and signed by the Timbers earlier this year, scored again in the 52nd minute for his fifth goal of the season and his first two-goal game.
Portland’s Eryk Williamson got his second straight yellow card in the second half and will miss Wednesday’s game against Real Salt Lake.
San Jose’s Tanner Beason appeared to score in the 71st minute but he was ruled offside after a video review. Shea Salinas’ attempt in the 81st minute went just wide to the right.
Mora, who scored twice in Portland’s 6-3 victory at the LA Galaxy on Wednesday, scored his seventh goal of the season in the 86th minute. Mora has scored in three straight matches.
Chara got the assist, his team-leading sixth of the season.
“Man, it was a hard-fought game. I think our intensity was there, our pressure, our intent to go score was there. We controlled the game really well, moved the ball side to side, and we had a lot of chances,” Salinas said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to score on those chances. And I think that came back to hurt us when the capitalized on theirs.”
The last time the teams met, Portland came away with a 6-1 victory in San Jose. That touched off the Timbers’ winning steak, during which they’ve outscored opponents 17-4.
“I have to tell you, the way the guys have been working, how united we are, how much work they put in; I cannot ask them more because they’re giving me everything. They’re giving the team everything,” Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. “What we can improve is definitely many different little things. That’s the exciting part about our team, I think we can still can become a better team.”
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Earthquakes, who were coming off a 3-0 victory at home Wednesday over Vancouver. The winning streak lifted San Jose (5-7-5) into the playoff picture.
The Earthquakes have not defeated the Timbers at Providence Park in 13 regular-season meetings.