- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Facing a possible trap game, the Portland Timbers kept their focus and moved back into the final playoff position.

Diego Valeri scored twice and Donovan Ricketts had his fifth shutout of the season to help the Timbers beat the short-handed San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 on Wednesday night.

“Sometimes, these are games where you let your guard down. Teams don’t get out of this game with the result they should,” Portland coach Caleb Porter said. “So I think it just says a lot about our hunger, our focus. We weren’t going to let that happen.”

Portland (11-9-12) moved two points ahead of Vancouver for the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference. The Timbers have two games left and the Whitecaps have three.

Rodney Wallace opened the scoring in the 41st minute, taking a pass from Darlington Nagbe and blasting a 10-yard shot past goalkeeper Jon Busch. Wallace five goals this season, three in the last two games.

Valeri converted a penalty kick early in the second half for his 10th goal. Portland was awarded the kick when Wallace was fouled in the penalty area. Valeri capped the scoring in the 74th minute, knocking in the rebound after Busch stopped Wallace’s shot.

The Earthquakes were missing a number of key players, including captain and leading goal scorer Chris Wondolowski, Victor Bernardez, Cordell Cato and Atiba Harris, all of whom were away on international duty. Coupled with injuries to others, the Earthquakes fielded a number of fringe players and could only name four substitutes to the bench.

“It’s a tough spot to be in. When you lose 3-nil, it’s tough to pick positives out,” San Jose head coach Mark Watson said. “But our guys kept going until the end. They didn’t stop fighting and that’s a good quality.”

Adam Jahn had San Jose’s best chance in the 85th minute, but his shot hit the crossbar. Other than that opportunity, Portland’s goalkeeper Ricketts had a very quiet night, not needing to make a single save in the game.

Portland also beat San Jose (6-14-11) 2-1 on Saturday in California.

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