Despite LA pushing to stay in the game through the first hour and ultimately posting three goals, their best scoring outing since Sept. 6, their last win, their defensive frailties were totally exposed and Portland went through them again and again en route to a rout.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto made three changes to his lineup, mostly out of necessity. Ethan Zubak started up top in place of Chicharito, who was out for personal reasons. Sacha Kljestan got the nod with Jonathan dos Santos on international duty, while Julian Araujo returned from his yellow card suspension in place of Rolf Feltscher, who was himself on international duty for Venezuela.
The Timbers took the lead in the 14th minute, after controlling play in the opening minutes. The Chara brothers linked up, with Yimmi Chara sending a cutback pass to Felipe Mora, who easily scored with no Galaxy defenders stepping to him.
About five minutes later, Zubak did well to dribble upfield with two defenders around him, but when it came to getting a good shot, he couldn’t get a good look, spun to hope for help that wasn’t coming, and ended up shooting a tame shot right at Steve Clark, who made the save for Portland.
Then Portland doubled their lead in the 23rd minute. A Galaxy handball just outside the box lead to Jeremy Ebobisse scoring directly on the free kick to make it 2-0 early on for the visitors.
The Galaxy got a lifeline in the 34th minute, as an overcooked corner kick from Cristian Pavon sailed out of the box, but Julian Araujo latched onto the ball, dribbled up a few steps, and let fly with a wormburner to make it 2-1 for LA.
The first half ended on that 2-1 scoreline, with the Galaxy playing much better to finish going into the break, making it a game.
But the tide turned coming right out of halftime, with Diego Valeri scoring two minutes after the restart, his late run and speculative shot beating Bingham easily to give the Timbers a 3-1 lead.
A few minutes later, Valeri appeared to handle the ball in Portland’s box, off Emilano Insua’s cross. But a VAR review did not result in a penalty. However, the subsequent throw-in resulted in Zubak heading in Pavon’s cross to make it 3-2.
Credit to LA for their fight, but Portland weren’t letting up, Yimmi Chara setting up Jorge Villafaña for the low cross that Mora tapped in for his second goal of the night at the hour mark.
A few minutes later, Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala scored on a scramble in the box, Bingham’s kick save bouncing up for Mabiala to pounce on, making it 5-2.
Pavon scored in the 70th minute, making something out of nothing, turning a corner around a defender and flipping his hips to get it on target, beating Clark for power as LA reduced the deficit to two goals.
Ebobisse scored his second goal of the night in the 80th minute, and while Villafaña looked like he might be offside in the buildup, the review did not overturn the call, which looked pretty close on one replay. So Portland’s lead went back to three goals.
So what can you say? LA are finding more creative ways to lose, and losing this badly at home stings even more. It would be one thing if the Timbers have been a juggernaut, but LA themselves beat Portland, in Portland, not that long ago! Unfortunately given the Galaxy’s form, that win feels like it was a long time ago, and questions must be asked if this team will be able to get on track this season.
The Galaxy are next scheduled to be back in action Saturday against the Colorado Rapids in Colorado. However, a coronavirus outbreak on the Rapids has forced them to postponed their last three games, including their game scheduled Wednesday against LAFC. Will this game proceed? Hard to say, really, and health has to come first. But if it does happen, a tired LA will take on a rusty Rapids side. Which team will emerge? Who knows, that’s why they play the games.
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