CARSON, Calif. – Despite a brilliant early free kick goal from midfielder Diego Valeri, the Portland Timbers fell 3-1 to the LA Galaxy in front of 20,089 at StubHub Center Saturday afternoon.
Robbie Keane headed home a Landon Donovan chip with about 20 minutes to go Saturday afternoon, then converted a penalty 12 minutes later, to lift LA to their first win over Portland in more than two years.
Gyasi Zardes also tallied, a header in first-half stoppage as the Galaxy (9-4-6) climbed into a tie for second place in the Western Conference, at least momentarily, with Real Salt Lake, scheduled to take on Colorado Saturday night.
Portland (6-7-9) missed a chance for its first three-game winning streak as an MLS club as Caleb Porter fell to LA for the first time in six meetings.
LA had most of the ball from the beginning, but they struggled for coherence, with Robbie Rogers, especially, off to a slow start. Portland went ahead in the 14th minute after Rogers was dispossessed near midfield by Valeri, who fed Gastón Fernández, who was brought down outside the Galaxy box.
Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo pulled 6-foot-5 Omar Gonzalez out of the wall, and Valeri hit a beautiful free kick from about 26 yards, a shot that glanced off Zardes' head and flew into the top-right corner of the net.
Valeri, who tallied in all three games against LA this year, scored for the third straight game.
The Galaxy had nearly constant possession from about the midpoint of the first half, especially along the left side as Rogers found his footing. It led to three good chances, with Zardes heading off the crossbar from Dan Gargan's cross in the 30th minute, and Keane forcing a leaping save from Donovan Ricketts in the 36th and nodding a Donovan serve over the crossbar in the 45th.
Zardes tallied three minutes into stoppage time with a point-blank header. It started out of the back, with Gonzalez feeding Donovan, who fed Keane, who sent the ball wide for Rogers.
Rogers' bullet cross found Zardes just inside the six-yard box, and Ricketts had no chance of stopping it.
Keane scored the winner in the 73rd minute, completing a sequence that began in LA's defensive end. Donovan took a pass from Keane on the left flank, brought it toward the net before chipping toward the far post. Keane worked inside Will Johnson and went to the ground to get his head on the ball near the goal line.
Keane tallied again in the 85th minute, converting from the spot after Diego Chara tripped Juninho on the line at the top of the box. It was the first penalty LA has made in four attempts this season.
The Galaxy are home Friday night against San Jose. The Timbers are home next Saturday night against Chivas USA.
Portland Timbers (6-7-9, 27pts) at LA Galaxy (9-4-6, 33pts)
Aug. 2, 2014 – StubHub Center (Carson, Calif.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 1 0 1
LA Galaxy 1 2 3
POR: Valeri, 14
LA: Zardes (Rogers, Keane), 45+3
LA: Keane (Donovan), 73
LA: Keane (penalty kick), 85
LA: Sarvas (Caution), 75
POR: Chara (Caution), 81
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Jewsbury, D O’Rourke, D Ridgewell, D Harrington (Villafaña, 77), M Johnson ©, M Fernández (Alhassan, 25), M Chara, F Valeri, F Urruti (Adi, 60), F Wallace
Substitutes Not Used: GK Weber, D Paparatto, M Nanchoff, M Zemanski
TOTAL SHOTS: 4 (Alhassan, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Valeri, 1); FOULS: 17 (Chara, 4); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 5
LA: GK Penedo, D Gargan, D Gonzalez, D DeLaGarza, D Rogers, M Ishizaki (Husidic, 60), M Juninho (Hoffman, 86), M Sarvas, M Donovan ©, F Zardes, F Keane
Substitutes Not Used: GK Rowe, D Dunivant, D Leonardo, D Meyer, F Jamieson
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Zardes, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Keane, 4); FOULS: 13 (Sarvas, 5); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 0
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Brian Poeschel, Jeremy Hanson
4th Official: Ricardo Salazar
Time of Game: 1:55
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 81 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial