By Galo Legarda, El Hispanic News
Portland, OR —The Portland Timbers closed their final game of the 2012 season with a 1-1draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday afternoon at Jeld-Wen Field, ending a season that brought more frustration and disappointment than happiness to the Timbers’ Army.
The Timbers had to fight back to get an equalizer after San Jose struck first at the 25th minute with a penalty kick. In a play that t caught he Timbers defense off guard, Steven Lenhart had a one on one with Timbers’ keeper, Donovan Ricketts, and when Lenhart was running towards goal he was taken down by Ricketts.
The penalty was taken by Chris Wondolowski and scored with ease to give the Earthquakes the lead. This goal marked a record for Wondolowski, scoring his 27th goal of the 2012 season. This tied the record imposed by Roy Lassitier in 1996.
The first half did not have many clear chances for the Timbers to equalize but they played with ambition and courage.
The equalizer would come at the 66th minute from their forward Bright Dike in a play that put him in front of the goalie, who at first instance saved the shot, but Dike was able to catch the rebound to send the ball to the back of the net and level the score.
At the end of the game the Timbers players displayed a banner that read: “To the best fans in the league, we will repay you,” earning the applause of the fans in the stands.
The Timbers will have to wait until the 2013 season begins to play their next official match. For the Earthquakes, the playoff round starts against the winner of the Galaxy vs. Whitecaps knock-off round match next week.
Interim coach Gavin Wilkinson said he was proud of how his team played against the number-one team in the league.
“There are a lot of lessons,” he said at the press conference. “As a club and organization, we are continually trying to manage the character of the group. The mentality of building on that is something we will look forward to. This team had a lot of adversity with this season, but winning the Cascadia Cup and coming back for the draw really puts this club at the top of what they can be this year. Again, we are never going to be happy until we can win the whole thing. With that, we are constantly learning and constantly developing as an organization so we can to reach that goal.”