It was another team effort for the LA Galaxy, as key contributions from a slew of players powered them to a 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Friday at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Still missing several starters, including Chicharito, the Galaxy nevertheless posted their best win of the season, evening out the pasting they took at Portland a couple months back with 10 men.
Greg Vanney maintained pretty much the same XI for another game, with reinforcements expected soon for his Galaxy squad.
Jeremy Ebobisse tested LA in the opening moments of the game, his shot forcing a save from Jonathan Bond as the teams were settling into the match.
It didn’t get any better, as the Timbers controlled the game early and got the looks to put the Galaxy’s defense under major pressure.
After Kevin Cabral seemed like he had a scoring chance that just got away from him in the 27th minute, Rayan Raveloson scored the opener a minute later off the subsequent corner kick, the Malagasy midfielder hitting an audacious bicycle kick to make it 1-0 to the home side.
RAYAN RAVELOSON ARE YOU SERIOUS pic.twitter.com/66Hy6sF4gR— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 31, 2021
But the good vibes lasted no time at all, because the Timbers equalized in the next minute, courtesy of Ebobisse.
Yimmi Chara ➡️ Jeremy Ebobisse. #RCTID pic.twitter.com/8rYNKoJlkY— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) July 31, 2021
And the Timbers nearly took the lead right after that, with Bond making a timely double stop to keep them from taking an instant 2-1 edge.
But the Galaxy took the lead again in the 34th minute, with Julian Araujo doing a nice dribble and cross for Vazquez to head in, wide open, to make it 2-1.
WE'RE BACK ON TOP! @Julian__Araujo burns a defender and finds Victor Vazquez for the finish pic.twitter.com/0m9NPxZZNZ— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 31, 2021
LA got another goal just before halftime, but Cabral was clearly offside on the entry pass and the goal was chalked off.
So the teams went into the break with the Galaxy leading 2-1. It wasn’t perfect, but the Galaxy certainly played their way into the first half and had the lead through the halfway point.
At halftime, Vazquez made way for Adam Saldaña, the youngster getting a big opportunity to help shore up the Galaxy defensively after coming off a rough performance.
Cabral bailed himself out on a terrible shot a few minutes into the 2nd half, contesting a header with Portland GK Steve Clark and the keeper just clobbering him. Sacha Kljestan stepped up and buried the penalty for the Galaxy.
#LAGalaxy Sacha Kljestan converts the penalty, Galaxy lead 3-1. pic.twitter.com/2BKEgXw7oN— Gio Garcia (@GioGarciaLA) July 31, 2021
Then the rout was on, with Samuel Grandsir getting in the goals a couple minutes later, the winger the latest to head in an Araujo cross, to make it 4-1 and finally break his goal duck in MLS.
Julian Araujo is a PROBLEM.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 31, 2021
He sets up Samuel Grandsir for his first MLS goal! pic.twitter.com/EVb2zGkc7v
Augustine Williams entered the game for Ethan Zubak in the 67th minute and Cameron Dunbar replaced Grandsir a minute later. Another on the night for LA was Sega Coulibaly making his return from injury in the 77th minute, for Araujo, who had a stellar performance.
The only concern came in the final 10 minutes, when Raveloson was injured and saw sustained attention from the trainer, but he walked off on his own power and continued in the game. Jonathan Perez was the final sub on the night, replacing Kljestan in the final minute of regulation.
All in all, I think this is a good performance for the Galaxy, obviously. They weathered an early onslaught and a quick equalizer from the Timbers, but Raveloson, Araujo, Vazquez and Bond in particular played huge games, while the likes of Grandsir and Cabral added tangible contributions to the victory. With the team sputtering lately, this was exactly what the doctor ordered, and the team should be more full-strength in the next game or two.
LA are next in action on Wednesday, when they’ll host Real Salt Lake at Dignity Health Sports Park. These teams played to a 2-2 draw in Utah less than two weeks ago, so hopefully a refreshed Galaxy side will be up for the victory this time around.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.