Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Timbers climbed into postseason position on Wednesday with a comfortable 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on the strength of a Diego Valeri brace at Providence Park.
The Timbers started the day one point behind Vancouver Whitecaps FC for the fifth and final playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference.
Valeri's double, along with a first-half strike from Rodney Wallace helped Caleb Porter's team improve to 45 points, two better than Vancouver with two games remaining.
San Jose created little in the way of scoring chances over the course of 90 minutes, remains in eighth place in the West with 29 points, and is winless in it last 12 matches.
After a cagey first 40 minutes, the Timbers broke the deadlock four minutes before the break when Darlington Nagbe collected a loose ball just outside the box and sent it out wide to Wallace, who beat San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch from a difficult angle.
After the break, the Timbers kept the pressure up and it paid off in the 51st minute when San Jose defender Jason Hernandez was whistled for a foul in the box after dragging down Timbers forward Fanendo Adi, resulting in a penalty kick which Valeri converted with ease.
The Argentine playmaker then completed his double in the 73rd minute, etching his name in the Portland Timbers record books in the process as his 11 goals are the most by a Portland player in a single season.
San Jose's best opportunity came five minutes from time when Adam Jahn let one go that pinged off the crossbar, but stayed out as the Quakes completed the match without an attempt on frame.