PORTLAND, Ore. – Two Western Conference teams eager for three points ended up with a share of points, as the Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy played to a 1-1 draw on a bluebird Sunday afternoon at Providence Park – but not before stoppage-time drama from both sides.
Portland’s Diego Valeri came up big with the equalizer at the death, just moments after LA’s Robbie Keane appeared to have nicked the winner on a 92nd-minute header goal highlighting a frenetic finish in the nationally-televised showdown.
The Galaxy weren’t able make the most of what was likely Landon Donovan’s final game before he heads to US national team camp. That means he will probably have to wait until after the World Cup before resuming his quest for MLS’ all-time leading 135th goal.
After starting the month of April with two wins, the Galaxy are now winless in their last three games and remain in seventh place with nine points from seven games. The Timbers, meanwhile, stay tied with the Galaxy on nine points but in eighth place after 10 games.
The Timbers were nearly singing another tune after letting a long throw-in from Dan Gargan travel all the way to Keane for what appeared to be the winner after 91 minutes of mostly solid defense.
But a week after finding their first win of the season over D.C on a stoppage-time winner by Maximiliano Urruti, Valeri came to the Timbers' rescue when captain Will Johnson found him free in the box. Valeri sent a roller just under Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to send the sell-out crowd into a frenzy.
The Galaxy applied pressure, controlling possession throughout the early going.
Before the half-hour mark, striker Rob Friend and midfielder Stefan Ishizaki each teed up shots from distance that were just off frame. LA’s best chance early on came in the 40th minute when they hit Portland on a counter attack and Donovan found Keane for an open shot in the box. But Donovan Ricketts was there for a diving save.
Portland’s best chance in the opening half came in the 34th minute when Valeri fleeced Kofi Opare just outside the box and had an open look on goal. But one touch too many for Valeri allowed LA’s defense to recover and shepherd away the threat.
In the 53rd minute, Valeri worked into free space at the edge of the penalty box and uncorked a laser that Penedo parried away with a diving save. Darlington Nagbe took another shot at it on the rebound, but Penedo was there again for the save.
Then six minutes later, off a Valeri free kick, center back Futty Danso was left unmarked and sent a header that just nicked off the post before being cleared out.
Donovan’s best chance for the record-breaking goal came in the 81st minute with the Galaxy pushing for the winner when he whipped in a left-footed shot from the top of the area that required the work of Ricketts.
The Timbers next play host to the Columbus Crew on Saturday, while the Galaxy hit the road to face the Houston Dynamo on the same day.
Portland Timbers (1-3-6, 9pts) vs. LA Galaxy (2-2-3, 9pts)
May 11, 2014 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
LA Galaxy 0 1 1
Portland Timbers 0 1 1
LA: Keane (Gargan), 90+2
POR: Valeri (Johnson), 90+5
POR: Fernández (Caution), 35
LA: Gargan (Caution), 58
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Jewsbury, D Danso, D Kah, D Harrington (Powell, 5), M Chara (Zemanski, 68), M Valeri, M Johnson ©, F Nagbe, F Fernández (Urruti, 76), F Zakuani
Substitutes Not Used: GK Weber, D Paparatto, M Alhassan, M Nanchoff
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Valeri, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Valeri, 2); FOULS: 14 (Powell, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 10; SAVES: 4
LA: GK Penedo, D DeLaGarza, D Opare, D Leonardo, D Gargan, M Husidic (Zardes, 83), M Ishizaki, M Juninho, M Donovan, F Keane ©, F Friend (Samuel, 72)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Rowe, D Meyer, M Rogers, M Walker, F Mendiola
TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Husidic, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Keane, 3); FOULS: 10 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 3
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, Baboucarr Jallow
4th Official: Drew Fischer
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Sunny, 55 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial