One game, 100 words or less: Bruce Arena was asked at halftime what he can do to get his team on the board. “Play better” he said. Yup, about sums it up.
The Galaxy came out of the break and would soon open the scoring, but moments of relaxation soon after would relegate them to just a point.
It was a solid point considering they ended up needing a comeback to earn it, but having gone ahead early in the second half, they’ll be disappointed to have even put themselves in that situation.
Portland will be happy to have earned a road point, but they too will be disappointed to have given it up at the end.
Three moments that mattered:
65′ – Marcelo earns it this time – Sarvas may have hit the corner 15 minutes in, but he would get his goal in the second half. With the Galaxy threatening most since the halftime break, they would pick up the opener for their patience. A cross ricocheted out to the trio of Donovan, Sarvas, and Gyasi Zardes, and Marcelo took control. Zardes slid wide to tug Timbers defender Michael Harrington just slightly off Sarvas, and the space was enough for him to rip into the far corner.
70′ – Timbers strike for a second – Just when the Galaxy thought they’d taken control, it evaporates just five minutes later. Diego Valeri bagged one in the 67th minute to level things up at 1-1, and had another wide open opportunity three minutes later, but his shot careened into a Portland defender. The ricochet came right back out to Jorge Villafaña and he struck home powerfully.
86′ – Galaxy equalize at the death – The Timbers were the ones to steal a point last time out, and the Galaxy took that role at the StubHub Center. An own goal from Raushawn McKenzie was the final result of a great ball across the face intended for Robbie Keane at the far post. The ball didn’t make it to the striker though, as it evaded Donovan Ricketts but clipped McKenzie and went in.
Three lessons going forward:
1. The most likely time to concede, etc etc
Hey Galaxy, don’t let up after scoring. The old adage “the most likely time to concede is right after scoring” remained true, and in a deadly way, as the home side conceded not once but twice in five minutes after taking a 1-0 lead. This team proved creative on the day, but a poor stretch at the back was their undoing. The Galaxy will feel unlucky to get nothing from their build-up in the final minutes before their goal where Donovan twice went down in the box, but both Portland goals came on moments that should have been cleared, so they only have themselves to blame.
2. Both these teams remain dangerous and in good form
The first half was a chess match, but the second 45 opened up and showed why these two teams are still very much in the thick of things. The Galaxy created a pair of chances that could have resulted in penalties on another day, but the referee (probably correctly) ruled them as nothing and a free kick just outside the box, much to the chagrin of Donovan.
However, they are both dangerous sides that shouldn’t be taken lightly in the push for the Western Conference playoff spots.
3. Nobody wants to win this fixture
After what happened in Portland in the reverse, it appeared for much of this second half that we’d have a winner. Nope. The Galaxy got the own goal, and good chances on either end in the dying minutes of the game go unpunished. Rodgers tried to win it with the final kick of the game, but his howitzer flew over. Three points would do both sides a big service here, but a draw doesn’t do much for anyone involved.
Where that leaves them:
Both sides will have wanted the win to pull away from the other, but this Western Conference remains a dogfight. These two sides both are well in the hunt and are putting horrible starts behind themselves, but mistakes still resound.
- The LA Galaxy sit on 21 points on 14 matches played, with a 5-6-3 record.
- The Portland Timbers are also holders of 21 points, this time in 18 matches played and a 4-9-5 record.