The LA Galaxy controlled the game for nearly a half, but it came to nothing as a red card before halftime paved the way for the Portland Timbers to roll 3-0 at Providence Park on Saturday.
Derrick Williams not only had a tough tackle just before halftime, but he may be taking a break for a few games after his red card transformed the game in more ways than one.
Coming in, Kevin Cabral got his first start for the Galaxy, with Sebastian Lletget moving back into midfield in place of the Adam Saldaña/Carlos Harvey platoon.
The first half was pretty sleepy, the Galaxy holding onto the ball and neither team pressing the other. The best chance for either team came with about a dozen minutes left in the first 45, when Diego Valeri got open on a ball in transition in the box, but his shot was blocked by Jonathan Bond.
Before halftime, Samuel Grandsir suffered an injury and could not continue, Sacha Kljestan replacing him in the 39th minute.
But things went south in the 44th minute, as Williams picked up a straight red card for undercutting Andy Polo at full speed on a tackle attempt, the Timbers winger taking a flying somersault before hitting the turf hard.
Derrick Williams with the worst tackle so far this year. This is horrific.— Ben Wright (@benwright) May 22, 2021
The teams went into the break tied 0-0, and Greg Vanney made another change to kick off the 2nd half, bringing in Nick DePuy to shore up central defense, Efrain Alvarez making way.
But it didn’t take long for the dam to break, with Felipe Mora scoring a header off Josecarlos Van Rankin’s cross in the 47th minute.
Breakthrough for @TimbersFC!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 22, 2021
Felipe Mora puts the hosts in front. #PORvLA pic.twitter.com/c4vD4N7Gdv
The Galaxy did get some looks down at their end a few minutes later, but the best chance of the lot, a shot from the edge of the box by Kljestan, was blocked by a Timbers defender.
Then Mora scored his second goal of the game, with another header 60 minutes in, Claudio Bravo’s previous attempt clanging off the crossbar before Mora ran onto it to bundle it in the net.
A brace for Felipe Mora.#PORvLA | #RCTID pic.twitter.com/15wYraJHGT— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) May 22, 2021
It got worse, as Van Rankin drew a penalty on Steres in the 68th minute, the defender clipping or getting clipped by the other defender, Diego Valeri stepping up to convert the spot kick to make it 3-0 to Portland.
With authority!— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) May 22, 2021
Diego Valeri buries the PK. #PORvLA #RCTID pic.twitter.com/BQfahzLFOc
The final two changes on the day were Saldaña and Cameron Dunbar in the 80th minute, for Lletget and Jonathan dos Santos.
So obviously it wasn’t a great day at the office for the Galaxy. Even if they had kept it 11-v-11, they may not have found a result against the Timbers, but they were absolutely at sixes and sevens while playing down a man for an entire half. Sometimes, it happens, honestly, and hopefully the group will learn from this.
LA will have to put this one behind them, and they’ve got a big game next Saturday, at home against the San Jose Earthquakes in the California Clasico. Rivalry games are always big, and different, but they’ll have to turn the page and figure out how to get a result against a team that plays pretty much the opposite way from the Timbers.
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