The LA Galaxy played the Portland Timbers to a 2-2 draw, in a match with an awful first half and then a second half that turned up the sound and fury but ultimately signified nothing. LA and Portland traded goals by midfielders, then traded sloppy and probably preventable goals. The Timbers were the better team on the night, and from a Galaxy perspective that should be disconcerting.
It felt at several points during the night that the Galaxy were at a complete loss as to how they could put the ball into the penalty area with a chance to score. On the night they attempted 22 crosses from open play and were accurate on 9% of them. There was one successful cross from the left flank, and one from the right. Yet players continued to push the ball up the flank to cross with no specific target in mind.
What did work and work well was Marcelo Sarvas' right foot. His fifteenth minute curler that hit the woodwork and his sixty-fifth minute opening goal showed how dangerous he can be given time to size up the goal. He went up for balls, he won dribble take ons, he was active in every facet of the attack. With Sarvas pushing forward, Juninho took on a more defensive role, tallying eight recoveries in the center of the pitch.
For all of the running up the flanks that LA did fruitlessly, both goals for the club were a result of solid play in the important fourteen zone in front of the penalty area. That's where Donovan laid the ball off for Sarvas that the midfielder curled past Ricketts, and the own goal that saved the point for LA began with a pass into the penalty area from zone 14.
The Timbers weren't especially dense in the center of the pitch, no one would accuse them of parking the bus in either half. So it was frustrating to see the Galaxy run the ball to the corner flag so often, with Gyasi Zardes finding no space and too many crosses going past the goal entirely.
Next up for the Galaxy is Real Salt Lake, and rumor has it they're good at soccer. After that they spend one of their matches in hand against a transcontinental traveling New England Revolution. Four points from that swing is a minimum requirement, if LA are going to jump from the playoff race into the race for the top of the conference.