MatchDay Preview: Timbers try to maintain momentum in Southern Cal
Back home after a three-game Eastern road trip, the LA Galaxy take on the Portland Timbers for the first time when the clubs meet at The Home Depot Center (8:00 p.m. PT - Fox Soccer; 95.5 The Game, La Pantera 940 AM & MLS MatchDay Live). The Galaxy went undefeated on their travels, coming away with a 2-1 win in Chicago despite numerous absences in the finale. The Timbers made their MLS home debut one to remember with two wins in two games, last a 3-2 win against MLS Cup finalist FC Dallas.
- The Portland Timbers won for the second time in four days on their home ground, again getting off to a big lead before holding on for a 3-2 win against FC Dallas on Sunday at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers have 7 points from 5 games, now in fourth place in the Western Conference.
- The Timbers took the lead in the 13th minute. Kalif Alhassan laid the ball back for Jack Jewsbury at the edge of the box. The Timbers captain took a shot that ricocheted off the post and then off FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman before finding its way into the net.
- Then, in the 34th minute, Kenny Cooper rose above the defenders and got a head on a Jewsbury corner kick, directing the ball masterfully over Hartman and inside the left post.
It was 3-0 to the home side just 10 minutes into the second half. Alhassan went on a mazy dribbling run through four defenders. He nearly lost the ball in the box, but defender Rodney Wallace picked it up and put it into the back of the net.
- FC Dallas pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute. Brek Shea slid in a pass from the left flank and David Ferreira ran onto it, directing the ball past goalkeeper Jake Gleeson.
- Less than three minutes later, Ferreira and Shea connected again. This time, it was Ferreira sending a chip over the Portland defense and into the path of a streaking Shea, who got onto the end of it to beat Gleeson.
Timbers coach John Spencer made no changes to the team that defeated the Chicago Fire 4-2 three nights earlier.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Jake Gleeson - Steve Purdy, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace -Jeremy Hall (Darlington Nagbe 65), Jack Jewsbury, James Marcelin, Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo 72) - Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Eddie Johnson 77).
- For a second time in four nights, the Timbers jumped out to a three-goal lead – then hung on at the end. But after scoring two goals in their opening three contests, they have scored seven in their last two – and are tied for the league lead after Week 5 of the season.
- “We know we can’t keep scoring three goals at home and struggling. Not struggling, but hanging on to games,” John Spencer said. “It’s hard to ask forwards and midfield players to score multiple goals. I really, really wanted to keep a clean sheet today.”
- The Timbers came into their first two home games as an MLS club sitting at the foot of the Western Conference.
- Now they sit in fourth place in the West – and face the divisional leaders for the first time.
- "Getting two victories in our first two home games is absolutely amazing. We put ourselves in great position," Steve Purdy said. "The positive thing is we won the two games and we have a lot of momentum going to Los Angeles and a lot of momentum going into the next stage of the season."
Jack Jewsbury made his 200th league appearance in the Dallas match and scored his second goal of the season. His career season-high is four goals, set in 2005 with Kansas City.
- "Our goal this week was two home games ... and get six points and get ourselves back in the (playoff) picture. We did that," Jewsbury said. "We could've made it a lot easier on ourselves, but at the end of the day, it's six points."
- Ghanaian midfielder Kalif Alhassan sparked the Timbers attack in their two victories last week. After not starting the first two games of the year, Alhassan set up three of the Timbers’ seven goals – including two assists against FC Dallas.
- "In the last month, he's changed his whole mentality towards being a professional. He realizes what myself and the staff want," Spencer said. "Now he realizes it doesn't matter how good you are, you've got to get back behind the ball and you've got to work your opponent and win your individual battles."
- Kenny Cooper scored his second goal for the Timbers, against his former club, netting Portland’s second in the win against FC Dallas. Cooper has the second-most goals – 40 in 90 games – in Dallas club history.
- The LA Galaxy concluded their three-game Eastern trip undefeated, claiming a 2-1 win against the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Galaxy have 12 points from 7 games on the season, in a tie for the top spot in the Western Conference.
- The Galaxy took the lead in the 42nd minute through Chad Barrett. Miguel Lopez crossed a ball in from the right, finding Barrett completely wide open at the penalty spot, and the former Fire striker calmly took a touch before slotting his shot inside the left post and past goalkeeper Jon Conway.
Omar Gonzalez doubled the lead for the visitors in the 72nd minute, rising above the Fire defense to head home a Lopez corner kick.
- Dominic Oduro pulled one back with his first goal in a Fire uniform in the 89th minute, rounding Gonzalez in the box before blasting an angled shot past 'keeper Donovan Ricketts and inside the far post.
- Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made five changes to the team that reached a scoreless result with Toronto FC at BMO Field. Frankie Hejduk came into the back four for A.J. DeLaGarza, Michael Stephens, Chris Birchall and Paolo Cardozo all came into the midfield for Sean Franklin and the suspended Juninho and David Beckham, and Miguel Lopez replaced Juan Pablo Angel up top.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Frankie Hejduk (Bryan Jordan 80), Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo,Todd Dunivant - Michael Stephens, Chris Birchall, Paolo Cardozo (Sean Franklin 68), Mike Magee - Chad Barrett (Juan Pablo Angel 77), Miguel Lopez.
- The Galaxy completed their Eastern road trip with an unbeaten mark, one win and two draws in three games, allowing just two goals.
- "It's important because we had five of our first seven games on the road. Whenever you can get points on the road, it's important," Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. "The three points were critically important.
- The Galaxy have taken eight of a possible 15 points on their travels this season; they had the best road record in MLS last year on their way to winning the Supporters’ Shield, with nine wins and three draws in 15 games.
- Center back Leonardo will undergo surgery after tearing both his ACL and LCL in his right knee in the Chicago match, an injury that is expected to cost him the remainder of the 2011 season. Leonardo managed to finish out the match and has played every minute of every game this season.
- "At this stage of the season, with what we've dealt with – with injuries and the road games and the situations we've had to deal with – and to have 12 points after seven games isn't bad," Arena said.
The Galaxy were missing three players through suspension (David Beckham, Juninho, Jovan Kirovski) and had four players out through injury. They were one short of the allowed complement of seven substitutes.
- “We didn’t have a lot of guys eligible to play,” Arena said. “Guys stepped up (Sunday) that haven’t been playing regularly like Paolo Cardozo, Miguel Lopez, Mike Stephens and Frankie Hejduk. We’re happy Omar [Gonzalez] was able to make an appearance; he played well… and obviously the second goal was an important goal.”
- Gonzalez was able to make his fourth consecutive start – and all three on the week-long trip – after missing the first three games to injury. His last previous had also come at Toyota Park, last Sept. 4.
- "It's my third or fourth game back and to get a game-winning goal is great, especially getting it off a header," Gonzalez said. "It's something I worked hard at during the offseason.
- Miguel Lopez partnered Chad Barrett in attack for the first time this season, and contributed a pair of assists, the first two of his MLS career. The first came in combination with Barrett, which was the Galaxy’s first goal scored from open play since the March 20 game vs. New England. The last three Galaxy goals had come from set pieces.
- “The whole plan was to stay high because Miguel likes to float underneath,” Barrett said. “He got out wide and I was able to get near the box and I didn’t think I could get near post so I made sure (to) get in a spot where (he) could hit me. The ball was served in a real tight spot and I had a good first touch and I wanted to make sure I slotted it on the ground to the far post on goal.”
REFEREE: Ramon Hernandez. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 28.6; Y/gm: 4.5; R: 7; pens: 6
INJURY REPORT: LA GALAXY – OUT: DF Gregg Berhalter (L knee MCL sprain); FW Adam Cristman (L knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee ACL/LCL tear); QUESTIONABLE: MF Landon Donovan (R knee inflammation); MF Hector Jimenez (R wrist surgery) … PORTLAND TIMBERS - OUT: FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); FW Brian Umony (R knee MCL sprain); GK Adin Brown (hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Peter Lowry (R knee MCL strain); DF David Horst (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: GK Troy Perkins (R knee sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 8/3: Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 8 p.m. PT
Coaches record: Bruce Arena v POR: first game … John Spencer vs. LA: first game