The Galaxy survived a testy game against the Portland Timbers, thanks to some great goalkeeping from David Bingham, solid play from Chris Pontius, and emergency defending from Michael Ciani (yes, you read that right).
Overall, they should be happy with the point on the road against one of the West’s best teams. In particular when other members of the defense weren’t having a great night (nice to see ya, highest paid MLS defender Jorgen Skjelvik).
It was also a game the Galaxy managed to close out, something they have struggled with in recent weeks. There appeared to be more discipline and in general an attitude of defense first, which served the team well.
Take the point and run!
· David Bingham – save on Flores to start the game, then good judgment against Blanco with an emergency clearance under pressure. Great save on Chara after he weaved his way through the LA defense. Another save on Armenteros after a point blank shot towards the end of the first half. Save on a Timbers header in 83rd minute. Maybe he should plant his foot weird at the beginning of games more often?
· Chris Pontius – hit the post after a nice squared pass from Boateng. Got another feed from Boateng a little while later, and though took what looked like a bad touch, the ball bounced right and he had a solid finish to the right corner for LA’s goal. Lovely slow pass to Cole in the second half that Cole could not convert. Involved in several LA attacks.
· Ema Boateng – nice run up right side and great sidefoot pass to Pontius who just missed goal. Fed Pontius for an assist with a nice pass from the right. Active and a pest to the Timbers defense.
· Sebastian Lletget – couldn’t redirect the ball on goal after a deflected Boateng shot, just missed wide. He’s not going to show up on any illustrious stat sheet, but he had 7 key passes (!) with several dangerous corners, and had very few missed passes. He’s taking great care of the ball, being an outlet and serving in dangerous set pieces.
· Michael Ciani – beat by a Valeri pass along with Skjelvik, luckily Bingham to the rescue. Important foot in after a cross from the abandoned right (Romney wanting to play CB) saving a SOG. Important headed clearance in 83rd minute. In general was everywhere in the six.
· Servando Carrasco – several crucial interventions, the better playing of the two defensive midfielders. Had a little more of a struggle on the left, but covered good ground on the right.
· Dave Romney – pretty much hung out in the middle of the pitch and tried to avoid doing anything dumb. He gives LA no attacking presence, but after his last outing, I just wanted a solid defensive performance.
· Zlatan Ibrahomivic – not much in his 20 minutes, very few touches and the Galaxy were playing for a point.
· Ariel Lassiter – late sub.
· Romain Alessandrini – shot wide off his dreaded right foot after nice combination play with Lletget. Didn’t get enough of the ball, shot directly at the keeper after a Pontius steal. Valentin had his number, needed to get the ball off his foot to pass faster.
· Perry Kitchen – ill-timed lunge at the beginning of the game allowing Chara to beat the midfield. Lunging fouls for the umpteenth week, outplayed by Carrasco. The week I get to take him out of this category I will celebrate. That said, he didn’t get a yellow card.
· Ashley Cole – beat a couple of times down the left looking slow. Couldn’t connect well on a nice pass from Pontius in the second half, shot straight at the Timbers keeper. Not so great boot balls up the left, even with a couple of key passes.
· Joao Pedro – he’s alive!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then he earned a yellow card two minutes after his insertion.
· Jorgen Skjelvik – takes the cake in the extra category honors. Short back pass nearly pounced on by Blanco. Emergency defense for last ditch clearance in 12th minute. In no man’s land against Blanco a few times. Beat by a Valeri pass along with Ciani, but bailed out by Bingham. Gives up a stupid penalty kick against Flores by muscling him off the ball in the six.
Man of the Match = David Bingham for a nice performance and several saves keeping the Galaxy in the game.