A match that struggled to find excitement until late fittingly saw two goals come in stoppage time, as Los Angeles and Portland played to a 1-1 tie in Oregon on Sunday.
Robbie Keane’s goal in the second minute of stoppage time came off a long-throw that Portland declined to defend, and Bruce Arena looked set to pick up his first win over Caleb Porter.
But Diego Valeri’s low shot in the waning moments of the match skittered over Jaime Penedo’s arm to give Portland yet another tie.
Los Angeles could’ve earned a pair of penalties, one deservedly-uncalled and the second a head bit of a head-scratcher.
Portland’s record stands at 1W-3L-6T, putting the club six points back of the West’s final playoff spot, while the Galaxy are now 2W-2L-3T on the season.
Stoppage time was stunning, but maybe because the rest of the match, well, say this for the great fans of Portland: they can make a library book drive sound like a thrill-a-minute goal fest.
As Los Angeles and Portland played a cat-and-mouse game that lent very little to the neutral, the crowd amped up even the most ordinary of scoring chances with tremendous success.
And so two teams that are struggling to find their expected forms managed to provided a bit of a Sunday afternoon spectacle on NBCSN, even if it took until the final half-hour for much excitement to arrive.
The match picked up pace in the 53rd minute when both Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe challenge L.A. keeper Jaime Penedo, but the Galaxy keeper was twice wise.
Futty Danso almost found the first goal when his 59th minute header was turned off the inside of the right post, but fortune again favored the Galaxy.
Stefan Ishizaki sent a neat ball through the box in the 74th minute, but Baggio Husidic’s shot was snuffed out by Samuel.
Landon Donovan nearly scored before Robbie Keane was robbed by Donovan Ricketts with about 10 minutes to play, as the Galaxy’s forward’s dipping shot was pushed over the bar by a fully-extended Ricketts.
There were penalty shouts in the 87th minute when Samuel and Pa Modou Kah met at a ball inside the edge of the box, but it was deemed a ball-first tackle (rightly so by the slimmest of margins).
Then Keane took advantage of some ball-watching from Danso, as Dan Gargan’s huge heave bounced past the Gambian defender and onto the foot of Keane. He doesn’t miss from that close.
Juninho earned a breakway a minute later, and Darlington Nagbe simply crushed the Galaxy attacker on the clear-cut scoring chance. But no call came. How? There must be a replay out there that showed us something we missed the first time.
Then came Valeri’s low strike to salvage a point for the home team.
Bruce Arena’s club went 0-2-1 last season against Caleb Porter’s Timbers, and he’s left searching for his first win after Valeri’s heroics.
Portland: Ricketts, Jewsbury, Danso, Kah, Harrington (Powell, 5′), Chara (Zemanski, 68′), Valeri, Johnson, Nagbe, Fernández (Urruti, 76′), Zakuani
Goal: Valeri (90+5)
LA Galaxy: Penedo; Gargan, Opare, Leonardo, DeLaGarza; Juninho, Husidic (Zardes, 83′), Donovan, Ishizaki; Keane, Friend (Rosa, 72′)
Goal: Keane (90+2)