LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers | MLS Match Preview
LA GALAXY vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
July 4, 2014 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #154) 8 p.m. PT (NBC SN/live stream on NBCSports.com)
The LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers meet for a second time this season in a key Western Conference matchup when the clubs provide the Independence Day festivities at StubHub Center before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Galaxy are undefeated in their last five MLS games following a 1-0 win at San Jose last weekend, yet are still currently two points out of a playoff position, tied with the Timbers. Portland hit the road following a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City last Friday, which followed a fifth-round U.S. Open Cup victory against the same club just three days earlier.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. AR1 (bench): Fabio Tovar; AR2 (opposite): Felisha Mariscal; 4th: Juan Guzman
MLS Career: 165 games; FC/gm: 23.5; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 33; pens: 48
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Pa Modou Kah, Diego Chara
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: Dan Gargan … POR: Norbetto Paparetto
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Galaxy 4 wins, 14 goals … Timbers 3 wins, 11 goals … Ties 2
AT LA (4 meetings): Galaxy 3 wins, 7 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 8/2: LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 11:30 a.m. PT
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Galaxy’s Robbie Keane scored in stoppage time to put the Galaxy in the lead, but Portland’s Diego Valeri netted a dramatic equalizer to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw May 11 at Providence Park.
- The Galaxy have never lost to the Timbers in Carson, winning the first three meetings there all-time before the teams played to a scoreless draw last June 19.
- Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. LA: P4 W2 L0 D2 … Bruce Arena vs. POR: P9 W4 L3 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/11: POR 1, LA 1 (Valeri 95+ -- Keane 92+)
- The Galaxy took the lead two minutes into second-half stoppage time when a long throw-in from Dan Gargan somehow traveled all the way to an unmarked Robbie Keane all alone in front of goal.
- But the Timbers hit for an equally improbable equalizer three minutes later. Will Johnson somehow found Diego Valeri with a back heel in the penalty area, and his shot from the right side rolled just under Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to send the sell-out crowd into a frenzy.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-1-3): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Pa Modou Kah, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington (Alvas Powell 5) - Diego Chara (Ben Zemanski 68), Will Johnson - Diego Valeri, - Darlington Nagbe, Gaston Fernandez (Maximiliano Urruti 76), Steve Zakuani.
- LA GALAXY (4-3-1-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Kofi Opare, Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza - Stefan Ishizaki, Juninho, Baggio Husidic (Gyasi Zardes 83) - Landon Donovan - Rob Friend (Samuel 72), Robbie Keane.
The LA Galaxy extended their undefeated run to five games, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Saturday evening at Stanford Stadium. The Galaxy sit in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 13 games.
- The game’s lone goal came just after the hour mark. From a ball played into the Quakes penalty area, Marcelo Sarvas teed up Gyasi Zardes at the penalty spot and he banged in the goal with a thumping strike.
- Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo was called upon to make just one save -- the Quakes nearly matching their usual California Clasico late dramatics from a free kick, but Penedo parried Steven Lenhart's header over the crossbar.
- Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made four changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA at StubHub Center. Kofi Opare and Tommy Meyer formed the central defense pair in place of Leonardo and A.J. DeLaGarza, Baggio Husidic came into the midfield for Juninho, and Robbie Keane returned to the attack in favor of Samuel.
- LA GALAXY (4-3-1-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Kofi Opare, Tommy Meyer, Robbie Rogers - Stefan Ishizaki, Baggio Husidic, Marcelo Sarvas (Juninho 85) - Landon Donovan - Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes (Rob Friend 81).
- The Galaxy extended their league undefeated run to five matches, winning their third game in that time following back-to-back draws, in the win at San Jose. It was the club’s longest league undefeated streak since the end of the 2012 season and start of 2013.
- “I'm real pleased with the win,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “I thought our guys played a pretty steady game, we scored a great goal, our young center backs did a good job defensively. I think, overall, this was our best effort as a team, our concentration over 90 minutes. So this is a game that I think we deserve to win, and we've been certainly pushing our group to try to be able to perform like this. So a really positive win.”
- The Galaxy also won for the first time this season away from StubHub Center. Their only other “away” victory of the campaign had come as the visiting team in the SuperClásico vs. Chivas USA in Carson.
- “We talked over the last three days about concentrating for 90 minutes,” Landon Donovan said. “We've played well through a lot of stretches in a lot of games, but we've let our concentration go. Tonight everyone was tuned in. When one guy couldn't make the play, the next guy made it. I thought we were excellent.”
- Said Arena: “It's only the 13th game this season, so we're not ready to have a parade in downtown L.A. We'll see if we can keep going.”
- Gyasi Zardes scored for a second consecutive game, his third goal of the season, in making a second consecutive start as an out-and-out striker. Zardes’ first three starts all came as a wide attacking midfielder.
- In his second consecutive start after missing five games through injury, Marcelo Sarvas recorded his second assist in as many matches, his first two of the season.
- After missing one game while on international duty with Ireland, Robbie Keane returned to the first team and recorded his fourth assist of the season. In 67 league appearance with the Galaxy, Keane has 41 goals and 25 assists.
- “If Barcelona scored a goal like that, people would be talking about it for weeks," Donovan said. "It was a good sequence. It was a great ball by Robbie, great run by Marcelo, and Gyasi peeled off with a great run and a finish, so I think it was as good a team goal as you'll seen in this league.”
- Kofi Opare made his first start in three matches while Tommy Meyer returned following a one-match absence to serve as the central defense partnership.
- “I think it’s Kofi’s second year and Tommy’s third. They now have enough experience and they’ve played a number of games with the first team – we’ve also had them with Galaxy II – so they’re primed to play and they did a great job,” said Arena.
The Portland Timbers saw their undefeated run come to an end after two games, falling 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City on Friday evening at Providence Park. The Timbers are in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 17 games.
- The game's only goal came in the 24th minute. Seth Sinovic sent a long throw-in into the penalty area from the left touchline, and after a bounce off center back Kevin Ellis, Lawrence Olum eventually got his right foot to the ball for a rolling shot that beat goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
- SKC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg was called upon to make three saves for the clean sheet, his league-leading eighth of the season.
- Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made three changes to the team that came back for a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas at Providence Park. Danny O'Rourke came into central defense in place of Rauwshan McKenzie, and Rodney Wallace started in attack instead of Steve Zakuani.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Michael Harrington (Maximiliano Urruti 82), Danny O'Rourke, Pa Modou Kah, Jorge Villafana - Will Johnson, Diego Chara - Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, Rodney Wallace (Gaston Fernandez 65) - Fanendo Adi.
- The Timbers were shut out at the attacking end for the first time since April 19, when they were blanked by Real Salt Lake, and were held goalless for a third time this season.
- “We gave up a goal on one of the few chances they had, which weren’t many, and they were able to find a goal and we weren’t with all the chances we had and all the possession that we had. So you can say based on flow and chances created for us and chances created for them that it’s cruel,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “But we still have to find a goal and we still have to make sure that on a long throw-in, which is basically a goal out of nothing – throwing the ball in the box, you have to make a play. It comes down to man-to-man marking. We lost the first ball, we didn’t attack the ball. We lost the mark on the second ball. It’s upsetting and very frustrating to concede that type of goal, when they weren’t creating anything from the run of play.”
- The Timbers also saw their record at Providence Park fall to 1-2-7 in league play, one of four MLS teams with a below-.500 record at home (also: Philadelphia, Chicago and Chivas USA).
- “I think if you watch all the games, we are still dominating games. A lot of it is teams are respecting us more. So they are adopting more of a negative tactic because obviously running with us at home is difficult,” said Porter. “That’s the MLS Cup champions, and you saw they were content to sit behind the ball. They have some guys gone and some injured. I don’t blame them, it was a smart tactic. If we get that first goal the whole game is different.”
- The Timbers conceded the opening goal for the 12th time in 17 matches, the most in MLS this season. They had come back for two wins and six draws.
- “We can’t keep relying on ‘Operation Come From Behind,’” Porter said. “And it seems like every second half it’s, ‘Alright, Operation Comeback, we need to score one, score two. And we’ve pulled out a lot of them, which shows that this team has spirit, shows we have a good attacking group. But we fell short tonight, and you’re going to fall short if you put yourself in that position as many times as we have.”
- Said forward Fanendo Adi: “Conceding the first goal is very difficult for us and when we let in the first goal at home, we’re under pressure to try and get it back and we open the space more and they try to get some good balls into our box. I think it’s something we have to learn from. It’s just something we need to work on.”
- Rodney Wallace made his first league appearance of the season, starting and playing 65 minutes in a wide left position before coming off for Gaston Fernandez.
- “I didn’t want to take out the attacking players I had in there. That’s the only way I could have made a third sub. We had [Diego] Chara sitting and three in the back. It’s about as ambitious and adventurous as you can get, and even Jorge [Villafaña] was getting forward so really we were defending with two players, two center backs. I wasn’t going to take Adi off, I wasn’t going to take Gastón [Fernández]. I put Maxi [Urruti] on. I wasn’t going to take [Diego] Valeri or [Darlington] Nagbe off or Will Johnson. All those guys have proven they can score goals,” said Porter. “To make the third sub it would have been a like for like because you’re not going to be more ambitious than a 3-3-4, which was basically what we were playing at the end. It’s worked in a lot of games. I just felt with the guys I had out there based on past games that they would get it done. But we fell short.”