The Quakes were unable to capitalize on a big opportunity Saturday night in Portland.
No loss is ever good, obviously, but San Jose missed out on more than just three points this weekend. Perhaps more importantly, they lost an opportunity to put the Timbers deeper into their early-season hole.
Portland, last season's MLS champion, opened the 2016 season with a win. Then the wheels fell off.
Starting with their loss at Avaya Stadium back on March 13th, the Timbers were outscored 12-6 while going winless over five matches.
Throw in the loss of Timbers star Darlington Nagbe to an ankle injury and there was plenty of reason for the Quakes to feel confident heading up to Portland. That confidence was erased by a trio of second-half goals.
Quakes supporters can take some comfort in the fact that San Jose outplayed Portland for much of the first half, especially given that the team was playing its third game in three different cities in a week.
With a bit more luck, San Jose could have easily come home from Portland with win and a nine-point edge over their northern rivals in the standings.
But "could have" doesn't change the fact though that the Timbers now lurk just three points behind the Quakes.
[RELATED: MLS standings]
The Timbers' rebound from the cellar was inevitable. They're too talented to sit at the bottom of the table all year, even in a strong Western Conference.
San Jose wasn't going to bury Portland last week, even with a win. But if the Quakes end up sweating out a playoff spot toward the end of the season, they may look back on Saturday and rue the opportunity they missed to dig the Timbers' hole just a bit deeper.
BEHIND THE STANDINGS
Real Salt Lake may not be the most exciting team to watch in MLS, but they might be the best. They recorded their second straight shutout win on Saturday, blanking Vancouver 1-0, and have allowed just one goal in three home matches this year. Despite playing two fewer games, they're only three points behind Western Conference-leading Dallas.
Want proof the Eastern Conference is the weaker of the two? Philadelphia, owners of a 3-0-3 record, currently sits in second place. That same record would be good for seventh out west. All three of the Union's win have come against Eastern Conference opponents
GOAL OF THE WEEK
The goal from Chicago's Kennedy Igboananike is spectacular, but the celebration might be just as good. (Honorable mention to Didier Drogba's back heel goal from the same game)
SAVE OF THE WEEK
It's not too often that a player who's not a goalkeeper ends up with the save of the week, but Vancouver's Tim Parker covers a ton of ground here to deny RSL's Joao Plato a goal.
GAMES TO WATCH
The Quakes look to stay undefeated at home as they host Sporting KC. Kansas City started the season with four straight wins, but has lost its last two games, both by a score of 2-1, and is now just a point ahead of the Quakes in the Western Conference.
Down in SoCal, Real Salt Lake looks to stay unbeaten as they battle the LA Galaxy. The Quakes are currently tied with LA in the standings, and both teams are three points behind RSL.