The LA Galaxy drew 0-0 with the Portland Timbers, in a match which could be accurately described as dull. Two solid teams went at it, the Timbers played for possession and stayed bunkered in, and the Galaxy couldn't find the accuracy to break through. 23,675 fans came to watch the blue clad Galaxy in the newly rechristened StubHub Center, and what they saw was an improvement but still not good enough.
The match had but one situation dubbed a big chance by mlssoccer, a chance that Landon Donovan fluffed in the fifth minute. Robbie Keane recovered the ball just outside the attacking third after Juninho made a tackle on Diego Chara. Donovan made a diagonal run behind the Portland back line, and Keane found him with the key pass. Donovan might have made a go of it one touch, but he hesitated long enough for Pa-Modou Kah to clear the ball out for a corner.
That battle between the LA Galaxy forwards and Kah continued all match. Kah picked up a yellow card in the seventh minute for a hand in the face of Robbie Keane. He got tangled with Donovan a number of times, getting called for more fouls than he made clean tackles. He was a player in Galaxy heads all night.
Portland's new style results in a lot of passing and a good amount of possession, so it's not too shocking that Portland outpassed and outpossessed LA tonight. In a vacuum it is surprising to see after several years of the Galaxy dominating possession under Bruce Arena.
As expected against Portland's defense, LA were able to create more chances despite trailing in possession (13-9). They were also able to create scoring opportunities from set pieces, as Portland gave away several free kicks near the penalty area resulting in seven LA shots from set pieces. Portland didn't show any particular offensive strengths.
All of this points to a match where the Galaxy should have finished something, and yet were plagued again by poor finishing. That's a bit harsh when the only big chance was gone in a flash and easily cleared, but it makes sense when you realize Keane didn't take a shot all match. Donovan's only shot was that deflected big chance.
LA shot selection was better, only one of their attempts came from outside the penalty area. Placement is still an issue, with no shots on either side of the goal. It was all down the middle or well wide.
If there was ever a team to get a turnaround victory against, it's Chivas USA who host the Galaxy on Sunday. A win there will go a long way toward getting the playoff train back on track.