Efrain Alvarez scored his first goal in MLS, Joe Corona scored his first goal of the season, and Cristian Pavon continued his stellar form as LA’s midseason turnaround continues, the team looking like a group transformed since their difficult MLS is Back Tournament campaign.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto gave Alvarez his first start of the season, and moved Julian Araujo back to right back, with Rolf Feltscher making way in the XI.
The Galaxy were knocking on the door in the opening minutes, but didn’t find their opener in the 15th minute, as Sebastian Lletget continued his fantastic run of form with a nice cutback feed in the box to Alvarez, who scored his first goal of the season to give LA a 1-0 lead.
It appeared Ethan Zubak may have drawn a penalty in the 28th minute, as he was sandwiched in the box between two defenders in the box, but the appeal to a spot kick fell on deaf ears.
Tomas Conechny nearly scored for the Timbers a few minutes before halftime, as his shot from distance was deflected and went just wide of the mark, but LA escaped that opportunity.
The teams entered the halftime break with LA leading 1-0, the visitors thoroughly controlling all aspects of the game.
That continued in the second half, with LA doubling their lead through Cristian Pavon in the 50th minute. The attacker took a beautiful touch to get distance on the left flank, beat the defender, then dribbled in and hit a cutback to shake the man before scoring easily.
Just before the hour mark, LA had a chance to score a third goal off a corner kick, but Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella held firm to keep the Galaxy off the board as they had a few chances to score.
The Timbers found a breakthrough in the 67th minute, as Felipe Mora latched onto a half-clearance from David Bingham and slotted it home.
But the Galaxy didn’t give up, as Joe Corona hit a one-timer from distance just four minutes later to restore LA’s two-goal lead.
Yimmi Chara scored in the 79th minute for the Timbers, but the Galaxy’s offside trap worked as the goal was chalked off. A few minutes later, the same happened to Jeremy Ebobisse, although his offside call looked very tight and LA may have gotten away with that one.
Galaxy teenager Cameron Dunbar came off the bench and nearly scored in second-half stoppage time, his angled shot off Pavon’s feed clanged right off the inside of the post but bounced away. Moments later, Portland substitute Diego Valeri scored to make it 3-2 and make it very interesting in the dying moments.
I think Portland rotating their lineup was a big assist for LA, and Ebobisse’s goal called off was probably pretty lucky for their cause, too. But credit to the Galaxy for dominating play most of the way and maintaining a good lead to weather a Timbers rally. They did, and they look like they can increasingly take on any team at the moment, and that’s a great sign indeed for the season.
LA are back in action in another El Trafico, this one coming Sunday against LAFC at Dignity Health Sports Park. Given the run the Galaxy are on and the fact they just beat LAFC the other week, there’s lots of reason to be excited about another big rivalry match.
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