MATCH PREVIEW: LA, Portland look to shake off struggles at HDC
A pair of Western Conference clubs looking for a victory to jumpstart their campaigns meet at The Home Depot Center when the LA Galaxy play host to the Portland Timbers. The defending champion Galaxy have lost back-to-back games, last time out a 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City. The Timbers saw their losing streak extended to three games in their last outing, a 2-1 home defeat by Chivas USA.
The Portland Timbers saw their losing streak extended to three games, falling to a 2-1 loss to Chivas USA on Saturday evening at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers are in eighth place in the Western Conference with 4 points from 5 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Timbers stunned by Chivas comeback
- The Timbers took advantage to score the opening goal in the 16th minute. Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy collided with defender James Riley while trying to clear a ball played into the box. With the two lying defenseless, Kris Boyd collected the ball and coolly slotted a shot into the open net.
- But after the break, the visitors grabbed control of the match. Three minutes after the break, halftime substitution Ryan Smith sent in a beautifully placed cross that Alejandro Moreno headed home inside the near corner.
- Chivas USA continued to press and found the game-winner off another perfect cross, this time from near the sideline by Smith in the 82nd minute. Nick LaBrocca was there to head it in and secure a second win in two road games for Chivas.
- Timbers head coach John Spencer made two changes to the team that suffered a 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake at JELD-WEN Field. Franck Songo'o came into the side in place of Jorge Perlaza.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace (Mike Chabala 46) - Franck Songo'o (Kalif Alhassan 62), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Eric Alexander (Jorge Perlaza 76) - Darlington Nagbe, Kris Boyd.
Timbers preview Galaxy matchup
The Timbers have matched their MLS club record with three consecutive losses. Their 2-1 loss to Chivas USA came after they scored first in a game for the first time this season.
The Timbers have allowed three goals in the final 15 minutes, matching the Galaxy for the most in MLS this season. They have come in the last two games, leading to losses to Real Salt Lake and Chivas.
"For me, we played like an expansion team [Saturday]," Timbers head coach John Spencer said. "We played nervous in front of a big crowd, with not enough guys stepping up and taking responsibility."
The Timbers are also winless in four games now, and are behind their pace in their expansion season with five points in five games (they had seven in five games in 2011).
"Their energy level from the start of the game to the end of the game was better than ours," Spencer said of Chivas USA. "This is as poor as we've played at JELD-WEN since I've been here." Said forward Darlington Nagbe: "We had a lot of energy in the first, and we didn't in the second half."
Kris Boyd hit the back of the net for the first time since his MLS debut in the season opener, taking advantage of a collision in the area between goalkeeper and defender for the opening goal.
It was the first time this season the Timbers scored the opening goal, after conceding first in each of their first four games. Boyd's goal was also the first this season scored by Portland in the first half.
"I think you can see we've got quality players in here," Boyd said. "We've played well, tonight for 45 minutes again, but a soccer game doesn't last for 45 minutes. It lasts for 90 minutes. And we need to go out on the pitch and perform for 90 minutes. We can do all the talking we want, but at the end of the day, we need to do it on the pitch."
Cameroonian midfielder Franck Songo'o made his first MLS start, playing 62 minutes. He had come on as a substitute in the last two games after missing the opening two matches.
Center back Hanyer Mosquera missed his second consecutive match after being forced from the New England on March 24 after just 24 minutes with a concussion.
- "When we get these guys fit and healthy, that's when you should judge us as a team," Spencer said. "We know what we've got in this squad, the quality we've got. It's only a matter of time before we start winning games."
The LA Galaxy suffered a second consecutive defeat on their first road excursion, suffering a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday afternoon. The Galaxy are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 3 points from 4 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: LA can't overcome Sporting
- The game's only goal came after 40 minutes. From the right wing, Bobby Convey sent a cross toward the six-yard box. Kei Kamara dove and buried the ball just inside the right post.
- The Galaxy were not credited with a single attempt at goal on target for the game.
- Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made four changes to the team that dropped a 3-1 decision to the New England Revolution at The Home Depot Center. Tommy Meyer came into central defense for Andrew Boyens, and Landon Donovan, Michael Stephens and Mike Magee came into midfield for Paolo Cardozo, David Beckham and Marcelo Sarvas.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, Tommy Meyer, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Landon Donovan, Michael Stephens (Marcelo Sarvas 77), Juninho (Kyle Nakazawa 72), Mike Magee - Edson Buddle (Chad Barrett 56), Robbie Keane.
Power 5: Wingmen, #2 David Beckham
The LA Galaxy, with three points through four games, have equaled their second-fewest points after four games in club history. Only the 1999 team, which started 2-2 (both shootout wins, for two points), had fewer. The Galaxy played in the 1999 MLS Cup.
"The bottom line at the end of the day ... the only thing I look at is the score," head coach Bruce Arena said. " ... To be successful, you have to have a period of time where you win games, period. We've got to get on one of those rolls."
The Galaxy have lost back-to-back games, something they haven't done since Aug. 21-28, 2010. They have not lost three consecutive games since Bruce Arena took over as head coach in August 2008.
"These things all go in cycles and, whether you're doing real well or real bad, there's all these little cycles and you never know what it adds up to," Arena said. "You really don't. Sometimes you have periods where you don't play real well and you steal one every now and then."
After missing the New England loss with tightness in his quadriceps, Landon Donovan was able to return to the lineup and played 90 minutes.
"I thought Landon had a solid game today. He's been out for a few weeks - usually first game back isn't easy," Arena said.
After being taken off at halftime against New England for what Arena said was a coach's decision, David Beckham did not make the trip to Kansas City, held out with back spasms.
"When he isn't in the lineup that will hurt our ability to create chances. But that was only part of the reason we were lacking offensively," said Donovan.
After missing the last two matches, rookie Tommy Meyer was returned to the starting lineup in central defense in place of Andrew Boyens.
"We have two center backs that we're trying to get back in Leonardo and Gonzalez. The league is not set up where you can just be bringing in players left and right on your senior roster. You have to deal with injuries that are long term and if they're rostered players there's nothing you can do about it," said Arena. "We're going to wait to get our players back and keep working with the young kid that played today and he'll get better with more games."
Then on Tuesday, the Galaxy obtained center back David Junior Lopes from Chivas USA, in exchange for midfielder Paolo Cardozo. The 29-year-old Brazilian made eight appearances for Chivas last year after joining the club in August, but has yet to make a first-team appearance this year.
- "He's a big, strong center back, left-footed with good athletic ability and it gives us physicality in that position that we haven't had, and experience," Arena said. " ... It's a discussion that we've had with Chivas for a while and gives us the ability to strengthen ourselves in that position. It doesn't say anything. It's a move that we're making to make our team stronger."
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Eric Boria; JAR (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Jasen Anno
MLS Career: 129 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 29; pens: 41
- LA GALAXY - OUT: DF Omar Gonzalez (L knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); GK Brian Perk (sports hernia surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (back spasms); MF Michael Stephens (R ankle sprain)
- PORTLAND TIMBERS - OUT: GK Joe Bendik (R knee meniscus surgery); DF Futty Danso (L foot fracture); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); MF James Marcelin (L hamstring strain); DF Rodney Wallace (L ankle sprain); DOUBTFUL: GK Jake Gleeson (R knee IT band tightness); DF David Horst (R hip surgery)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Galaxy 1 win, 3 goals ... Timbers 1 win, 3 goals ... Ties 0
AT CARSON (1 meeting): Galaxy 1 win, 3 goals ... Timbers 0 wins, 0 goals ... Ties 0
RETURN MATCHES: 6/17: LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 5 p.m. PT; Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 8 p.m. PT (NBC SN)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/23: LA 3, POR 0 (Barrett 4; Donovan 8, 67)
8/3: POR 3, LA 0 (Chabala 26; Perlaza 33; Brunner 68)
- The teams split their two games in Portland's inaugural season, the Galaxy winning 3-0 on April 23, and the Timbers returning the favor with a 3-0 win Aug. 3 at Jeld-Wen Field.
Coaches record: John Spencer vs. LA: P2 W1 L1 D0 ... Bruce Arena vs. POR: P2 W1 L1 D0