LA Galaxy 2, Portland Timbers 2 | MLS Match Recap
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers battled through nearly 65 minutes of scoreless, less-than-inspiring soccer in Friday night's Western Conference showdown, then finished with a sizzling final half-hour, in which both sides gained and then surrendered leads.
A Rauwshan McKenzie own goal in the 86th minute gave the Galaxy a 2-2 draw in front of a sellout crowd of 27,000 at StubHub Center, extending their unbeaten streak to six games.
Marcelo Sarvas gave the Galaxy (5-3-6) a 65th minute lead, but the Timbers (4-5-9) rallied with goals three minutes apart from Diego Valeri and Jorge Villafaña and headed into the final five minutes before stoppage with an advantage.
Portland's three-game road winning streak was halted, but they are unbeaten in five straight away games, dating to late April.
The result left both teams with 21 points, one behind fifth-place Vancouver, which is home Saturday night against Seattle.
Uncharacteristically muggy conditions made for a sometimes plodding affair played primarily between the boxes much of the night, with the Galaxy's territorial advantage providing little concrete benefit.
LA nearly scored twice in the first 15 minutes, but Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts halted Robbie Keane's one-on-one foray from a Sarvas over the top pass in the 11th minute, and Sarvas' heavily bending shot from 16 yards -- after a Keane shot was blocked and ricocheted to the left -- struck the right post in the 15th.
The Timbers' best first-half chance arrived in the 40th minute, when Valeri danced past DeLaGarza on the right and sent a ball through the goalmouth, just out of reach of Fanendo Adi at the near post.
The first 20 minutes of the second half looked a lot like the first half, but following Sarvas' goal, the game proceeded at a breakneck pace the rest of the way.
Sarvas tallied after McKenzie headed out a Juninho cross. Donovan, just above the box, played a little pass to Sarvas, who took the ball into the box, then fired past three defenders and a screened-out Ricketts into the far-post netting.
The lead was gone within a couple of minutes.
Villafaña sent in a cross from the left wing, but Adi's header bounced off Robbie Rogers and rolled out toward the top of the box. Valeri raced in to pound it to the far post.
Portland went ahead in the 70th after Will Johnson sent a ball behind LA's backline and Villafaña raced past Stefan Ishizaki and sent a low cross toward the goalmouth. Tommy Meyer's clearance was poor, and Valeri picked up the ball at the top of the box, but his shot was blocked by Meyer. The ball rolled toward the left and Villafaña, a former Chivas USA winger who had the winning assist when the Timbers beat the Goats at StubHub in May, beat goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to the near post.
The Galaxy were all over Portland the rest of the way. They thought they deserved a penalty kick when Diego Chara tripped Donovan at the edge of the box, but referee Jair Marrufo placed the free kick just outside the box, a decision that replay supported. Ricketts parried Juninho's ensuring free kick over the crossbar, and then collected a difficult ball under pressure from Keane a minute later.
Donovan set up the equalizer, chipping the ball after a long sequence of passes into the box for Baggio Husidic, to the left of then net. Husidic sent a ball into the middle, past Rob Friend and toward Keane, but it hit a retreating McKenzie and rolled into the net.
The Timbers have two games next week at Cascadia Cup rival Seattle, facing the Sounders on Wednesday in a US Open Cup quarterfinal and next Sunday in a league game. The Galaxy is home next Saturday against New England.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Diego Valeri||Got stronger as the game wore on, and really spurred Timbers' outburst in the second half, including a rocket of his own|
|2||Marcelo Sarvas||Nearly scored the goal of the week in the first half, before breaking his 2014 scoring duck to open the scoring|
|3||Donovan Ricketts||He and Jaime Pinedo had a bit of GK duel, but he edged it with a couple extra timely saves to preserve the draw|