KeyBank Scouting Report Matchday Preview | Portland Timbers vs. Los Angeles Galaxy | May 11, 2014

Timbers take on the Galaxy with an 11:30am kickoff Sunday on NBC Sports Network

PORTLAND TIMBERS vs LA GALAXY
presented by adidas
PROVIDENCE PARK, Portland, Ore.
May 11, 2014 (WEEK 10, MLS Game #89)
11:30 a.m. PT (NBCSN)

A pair of clubs looking to make a move up the Western Conference table meet in the weekend’s marquee matchup, when the Portland Timbers play host to the LA Galaxy on Sunday at Providence Park before an NBC Sports Network audience. The teams are tied in the middle of the West standings; the Timbers are coming off their first win of 2014, defeating D.C. United, while the Galaxy saw their four-game undefeated run come to an end in a loss at Colorado.

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers put an end to their season-opening winless run after eight matches, grabbing a late 3-2 win against D.C. United on Saturday evening at Providence Park. The Timbers are in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 8 points from 9 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Timbers took the lead after just 34 seconds. Darlington Nagbe found Diego Valeri on the right flank, and he one-timed a perfectly placed cross to Gastón Fernández. He then chipped it into the air and rounded D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid, before chipping it over the line with his back to goal.
     
  • United were level in stunning fashion in the 33rd minute when Davy Arnaud teed up a shot from well out on the right which took an initial deflection of Diego Chara before sailing into the top right corner.
     
  • The Timbers were back in front just five minutes when a Valeri corner found Futty Danso in front of goal, and he coolly one-timed his effort past Hamid.
     
  • Danso was again involved as United drew level from a 77th-minute corner kick, Cristian Hernández trying to reach a header that Danso instead nodded inside the left post.
     
  • But the Timbers once again responded, hitting for the winner five minutes into stoppage time when substitute Maximiliano Urruti slammed home his own rebound from a Valeri cross from the right flank.
     
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Steve Zakuani came in on the flank in place of Kalif Alhassan.
     
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury (Maximiliano Urruti 83), Pa Modou Kah, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, Steve Zakuani (Kalif Alhassan 69) - Gaston Fernandez.

TEAM NEWS

  • The win vs. D.C. United ended the eight-game winless streak to start the season.
  • “Obviously it’s three points, but sometimes it feels like more and I think this is one that feels like more and I think it’ll lift the group. I think they’ll play freer, more confident. I think we’re going to continue to get better and better,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “We’ve been playing well, but I think sometimes when you feel that weight of a bit more pressure because you’re not getting results and you get frustrated. We showed right until the end, getting the result, that this team believes.”
     
  • The Timbers became the first team in MLS history to take the lead in the first minute of play, then score the winning goal in second-half stoppage-time, in the win against D.C. United. On three occasions, a team scoring in the first minute had scored a stoppage-time equalizer.
     
  • “I think sometimes, psychologically, when things are going your way, you play not to lose instead of playing to win,” Porter said. “Playing not to lose, usually you lose. We need to keep playing to win, we need to keep being aggressive, we need to keep being a team that’s in the front half, pushing games, proactive, on the ball, attacking.”
     
  • For the second time this season, Gastón Fernández scored in back-to-back games, netting the opener after hitting for Portland’s only goal in the draw vs. Houston. Fernández scored the Timbers’ first two goals of the season, in 1-1 draws with Philadelphia and Chicago.
     
  • The Fernández goal after 34 seconds was the earliest goal in the Timbers MLS club history and the earliest this season in MLS. It was the 22nd earliest goal in league history.
     
  • “He’s very important to us, he scores when he’s in the game and we know that we can count on him. Any player that scores is going to be important for us throughout the season,” said Maximiliano Urruti.
     
  • Diego Valeri recorded his first two assists of the season, his fifth career two-assist game (in 40 MLS appearances). Valeri last year led the league with 13 assists.
     
  • “Even though [Valeri] didn’t get a goal, he was, for me, the guy carrying us at the end and it was, maybe, the best performance I’ve seen out of him since I’ve had him here,” said Porter. “He’s a big-time player and he brought it. We needed our big-time players, our attacking guys like him to bring it, and he certainly did.”
     
  • Steve Zakuani made his second start of the season, his first since March 22, coming into a wide attacking role. Zakuani had made two substitute appearances, totaling four minutes, in the five games in between.
     
  • “There’s a bit of [chemistry] that plays into it, but I thought we got it right. A big part of that is that we had some time together,” said Porter. “Zakuani is healthy and I think he’s a piece that helps us. Obviously he’s very dynamic individually. He’ll continue to get better as he gets more fit and in form.”

LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy saw their undefeated streak come to an end after four matches, falling 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Galaxy sit in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 8 points from 6 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 20th minute. Off a partially cleared corner, Vicente Sanchez chipped a ball from inside the penalty area on the right that appeared to be a pass headed toward defender Drew Moor -- but it lofted over goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the top corner of the goal.
     
  • The Galaxy had a glorious opportunity just after the hour mark. Moor was deemed to have caught Galaxy striker Rob Friend -- and referee Hilario Grajeda immediately pointed to the penalty spot. But Robbie Keane pushed the ensuing spot kick just wide of goal in the 63rd minute.
     
  • Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made one change to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Rob Friend came into the side in place of Marcelo Sarvas.
     
  • LA GALAXY (4-3-1-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez (Kofi Opare 46), Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza - Landon Donovan, Juninho, Baggio Husidic - Stefan Ishizaki (Gyasi Zardes 70) - Rob Friend (Samuel 76), Robbie Keane.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy had their undefeated run put to an end after two wins and two draws, losing their first game since the season-opening 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
     
  • “We just blew this game. There’s no excuses for us. We should’ve won this game. Very least get a point,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We get a chance early in the game, we miss a penalty kick early in the second half, have a lot of possession, we don’t put a shot on goal, I don’t think for the game. I think Ishizaki’s, it was maybe blocked off the line, that was about the only shot on goal. It was terrible execution on our part in the final third of the field.”
     
  • The Galaxy were dealt a serious injury blow in the days leading up to the match when Marcelo Sarvas suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, which will sideline him as long as 2 months.
     
  • “Certainly, Marcelo would have been great to have there, but that's not an excuse,” Arena said. “We have enough players that can execute and win games for us.” Said Robbie Keane: “We had possession, but wereally didn't do anything, you know? Sometimes you can have possession just for the sake of having it, so there was no penetration. We just looked very kind of lackadaisical.” 
     
  • With Sarvas out, Landon Donovan shifted from his role partnering Keane as an out-and-out striker to an attacking role on the right side of midfield. “It does change the way we play,” Donovan said. “Marcelo does a lot of dirty work on the team. I filled his spot, but it's a different role.”
     
  • Rob Friend made his first start since March 22, coming into the attack alongside Keane. “It was frustrating to see,” Friend said. “We weren't working together, we weren't working as a team, we weren't helping each other out. We just weren't a team out there. We looked sluggish, and we weren't at our best. It was one of the worst games, I think, this season from us.”
     
  • Said Keane: “I think that’s probably one of our worst performances certainly for a long time. We looked very sluggish and didn’t look like we could get the ball down and pass.”
     
  • There was another injury blow during the Colorado match as U.S. international Omar Gonzalez was forced from the field at halftime. Kofi Opare came on in relief, his first appearance of the league season.
     
  • “I feel strongly about the fact this is a short-term issue and he'll be fine. ... There's nothing long-term with his injury, I can promise you that,” Arena said.

REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Corey Rockwell; AR2 (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Drew Fischer MLS Career: 34 games; FC/gm: 23.7; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 14; pens: 10
SUSPENDED: none 
WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Norbetto Paparetto, Diego Chara 
DISABLED LIST: none 
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Timbers 3 wins, 10 goals ... Galaxy 4 wins, 13 goals ... Ties 1 AT PORTLAND (4 meetings): Timbers 3 wins, 9 goals ... Galaxy 1 win, 6 goals ... Ties 0
RETURN MATCHES: 7/4: LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 11 p.m. PT; 8/2: LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 11:30 a.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS): 6/19: LA 0, POR 0 7/13: POR 2, LA 1 (R. Johnson 27; Jean-Baptiste 94+ -- Sarvas 17) 9/29: POR 1, LA 0 (Urruti 52)

The Timbers won the final two meetings between the teams a season ago, both wins coming in Portland, a 2-1 triumph on July 13 and a 1-0 win Sept. 29. They were the first Timbers wins in the series since the 2011 campaign. The Galaxy have never lost to the Timbers in Carson, winning the first three meetings there all-time before the teams played to a scoreless draw last June 19.

Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. LA: P3 W2 L0 D1 ... Bruce Arena vs. POR: P8 W4 L3 D1