The game in 100 words (or more): Through two weeks, the LA Galaxy’s post-Bruce Arena (and Robbie Keane) (and Landon Donovan (again)) era isn’t exactly going to plan, to say the least. Having suffered defeat in their season opener last week, to the current Supporters’ Shield holders, FC Dallas — which, understandable — a positive result was so badly needed against the Portland Timbers on Sunday. What LA ended up with, instead, was a 1-0 deficit after eight minutes, thanks to a devastating counter-attack goal scored by Diego Chara; a man disadvantage after 34 minutes, when Jelle Van Damme was sent off; and an injury to their lone remaining superstar, Giovani dos Santos, which forced him off at halftime. Portland, meanwhile, have two wins from two games and look every bit on par with the likes of FC Dallas and New York City FC in the (very, very, very early) race for the 2017 Shield.
Three moments that mattered
8′ — Chara, Valeri link up on devastating counter — Sebastian Blanco‘s ball out of the back hits Chara in stride, but it’s Chara’s header that turns a run-of-the-mill counter-attacking opportunity into immediate danger for LA. Diego Valeri has acres of space to run onto the ball, and he’s as unselfish as they come, happy to make the simple square pass for Chara in the face of a wide open goal.
34′ — Guzman gets Van Damme sent off — There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s dive right in: 1) David Guzman dived; 2) Guzman appears to have seriously injured his collarbone or shoulder upon landing; 3) Van Damme made zero contact with Guzman; 4) Van Damme was also late with his challenge and arrived wildly. All things considered, everything seemed to work itself out pretty well.
90+4′ — Gleeson denies Villarreal in spectacular fashion — Jose Villarreal flicked his header on from the top of the six-yard box, which gave Jake Gleeson roughly 0.0002 seconds to react, dive low and to his right, and preserve the victory. Just an unbelievable save.
Men of the match: Diego Chara
Goalscorers: Chara (8′)