What to know as LA Galaxy comes to town

It's an afternoon encounter between two teams seeking to amend early season woes.


Western Conference foes Los Angeles Galaxy make their first visit to Cascadia in the 2023 season this Saturday. It's only Matchday 5, but much is at stake. The clash with 12th-place LA Galaxy is a prime opportunity for the Timbers to jump from 10th place into playoffs positioning with a potential win. After collecting only three points out of a possible twelve so far this season, a raucous Providence Park can provide the energy needed to offset the Galaxy's potential.

Similar storylines in 2023

With the Timbers squad not at full health, it has been difficult to assess the last few matches, and what changes need to be had to start racking up dubs. With Juan David Mosquera on Colombian national team duties this weekend, the hole in the right back position means Saturday's line-up is likely to be shaken up once more. However, there are positive signs on the horizon: forward Yimmi Chara has returned to training with the first team while his development is continuously being monitored for a potential return to action, and new international signing Franck Boli is coming in from Hungary in support of the PTFC attack.

For their part, the Galaxy have not earned a single win through three matches in 2023. Following the postponement of their season opener against intracity rivals LAFC, the Galaxy have played Dallas, Kansas City, and Vancouver, posting a 0-2-1 record with only two goals scored during that span. The Timbers, meanwhile, have scored four goals in their last three games. Los Angeles also arrive to Portland without star striker and Mexico's all-time leading scorer Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who's out due to a hamstring injury. Brazilian star Douglas Costa is doubtful, too.

But even without Hernandez and Costa, head coach Greg Vanney's Galaxy could still cause trouble. Competitors like Riqui Puig and Dejan Joveljic are sure to put on a show for the Carson-based club.

The history

In the past, Timbers-Galaxy matchups in Portland have provided some of the most electrifying moments. You may recall the Galaxy's first visit in 2011—a magnificent 3-nil victory for the Timbers—or the 5-2 goal-fest win following the triumphant MLS-is-Back tourney. Perhaps the most thunderous moment of all some may remember is Andrew Jean-Baptiste's last-minute winner in front of a berserk Timbers Army in 2013.

In 32 all-time MLS meetings between the Galaxy and the Timbers, dating back to 2011, Portland has been victorious 12 times (with one victory in Orlando in 2020 during the MLS is Back Tournament). Within the confines of Providence Park, Portland has the upper hand with 7 victories and 3 draws out of 14 matches.

Most recently though, the matchup has swung one way, and not in the Timbers' favor. Since the shortened 2020 season, Portland has won only one of the five matchups between the two. A 3-0 win in May of 2021, Portland hasn't savored victory over the SoCal club in nearly two years.

As a winless Galaxy squad come to town, it sets a scenario for a showdown between clubs in need of points. Using history and hunger as barometers, a standings swing for either club seems likely by the final whistle. If the Timbers can capitalize on the opportunity, it could open the floodgates for positive results down the stretch as players soon to return from injury may add an additional impact.