One moment — one wishful stretch; one set of studs; one empty flail — defined Sunday’s match at JELD-WEN Field, with Max Urruti’s first Major League Soccer goal giving the Portland Timbers a 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy. The win keeps Portland third in the West, albeit two points behind conference-leading Real Salt Lake (with Seattle potentially reclaiming their lead tonight against New York). LA stays tied for fourth with Colorado, four points back of Portland.
The match looked set to go LA’s way early on, with the Galaxy’s transition game leading to a number of breaks toward Portland’s goal. Seemingly leveraging two games worth of experience against Caleb Porter’s approach, LA created a number of near-chances over the first half hour, even if strong defending from Futty Danso and Pa Modou Kah kept Donovan Ricketts reasonably trouble-free.
By halftime, Portland was controlling more of the game, but their breakthrough didn’t come until the 52nd minute. That’s when a Will Johnson corner was stabbed home by Urruti, who beat Sean Franklin to redirect past Jamie Penedo with the bottom of his boot.
From there forward, a pursuing Galaxy controlled the game, ending the match with more possession and passes than the normally hoarding Timbers. It was the second straight match Portland had lagged in those areas, but for the second straight game, the Timbers still emerged with a 1-0 win.
The victory looked in doubt in stoppage time, however, and a particularly stubborn Galaxy fan may hold on to the idea that LA had an equalizer waved off. But as replayed clearly showed, Robbie Keane was offside on Landon Donovan’s late restart, leading the captain’s potentially game-tying header to be disallowed: