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Johnson's free kick gives Timbers win over Earthquakes

Associated Press

4/15/2013 1:39:11 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Will Johnson scored on a free kick in the 78th minute and the Portland Timbers won their second straight match with a physical 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.

The goal moves Portland to 2-1-3 for the season under new coach Caleb Porter. Portland also defeated the Houston Dynamo last weekend at Jeld-Wen Field.

San Jose forward Alan Gordon was ejected in the second half after receiving his second yellow card. He also appeared to use a slur directed against Johnson before the deciding goal.

The loss drops the Earthquakes to 2-3-2.

Forward Steven Lenhart was back in San Jose's starting lineup after returning from a partially torn meniscus last weekend as a reserve. The striker missed San Jose's first five matches after off-season surgery. That meant the Earthquakes' so-called Bash Brothers -- Lenhart and Gordon -- were both starting for the first time this season.

But Gordon was sent off in the 68th minute when he got his second yellow card for elbowing Timbers defender Mikael Silvestre in the face, causing a bloody lip. Gordon was also given a yellow in the 41st minute for a foul on Diego Chara.

A few minutes before he was ejected, it appeared from the televised replay that Gordon directed a slur toward Johnson. Such a comment would bring a three-match suspension by Major League Soccer.

Johnson's free kick for the game-winning goal came just outside the penalty arc and sailed over the wall, curling just over the outstretched arms of Earthquakes goal keeper Jon Busch and into the back of the net.

The teams played to a scoreless draw in the first half. Portland missed an opportunity when Ryan Johnson's header was snagged midair by Busch in the 43rd minute.

The Timbers dominated possession (62.6 per cent) in the first half but matched San Jose with just four shots. And it was a physical match, as evidenced by the yellow cards. Four minutes after Chara was fouled by Gordon, he got a yellow card himself for a foul on Rafael Baca.

Portland was without midfielder Diego Valeri, who was elbowed in the face last weekend against the Dynamo and only participated in light workouts this week because of the league's concussion protocol. The Timbers also lost defender David Horst to a fractured right tibia during the Houston game. He is out six months.

The Timbers also announced shortly before the game that defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste would not start because of a right adductor strain. Futty Danso started in his place.

Portland is 2-0-4 against the Earthquakes. Sunday's game was the first of a home-and-home with San Jose, and the two teams meet again next Sunday at Buck Shaw Stadium.