Portland Timbers sparkling offense heads to LA for Fourth of July battle

PORTLAND, Ore. – Unbeaten in four consecutive regular-season road matches, the Portland Timbers square off against the LA Galaxy in an Independence Day match Friday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. (8pm PT, NBCSN).

Portland (4-5-8, 20pts) enters Friday’s match with a four-game unbeaten streak on the road, dating back to April 27. In all competitions, the Timbers have not lost in five consecutive road games. Similarly, Portland is undefeated in four consecutive matches against the LA Galaxy since 2013, compiling a 2-0-2 record, including and 0-0-1 mark at the StubHub Center. The Timbers have outscored the Galaxy 4-2 over their last four meetings, including two shutouts and a 1-1 draw against head coach Bruce Arena’s club on May 11 at Providence Park as each team registered goals in second-half stoppage time after going scoreless in 90 minutes of regulation.

It has been more than a full calendar year since the Timbers last visited the StubHub Center to face the Galaxy on June 19, 2013, as the two sides played to a scoreless draw and Portland earned its first road point against the Galaxy since entering MLS in 2011.

Midfielder Will Johnson has registered an assist in consecutive matches against the Galaxy, using a clever back-heel pass to set up midfielder Diego Valeri’s game-tying goal in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time in a 1-1 draw on May 11 at Providence Park. Johnson also delivered the game-winning assist on a corner kick that connected with forward Maximiliano Urruti in a 1-0 win over the Galaxy on Sept. 29, 2013, at Providence Park.

Entering the week, the Timbers rank among the top teams in MLS in several offensive categories. Portland is tied for second in goals scored (28) and ranks fifth overall in assists (21), while the squad has attempted the second-most shots (236) and shots on goal (85) this season. The Timbers are also the most fouled team in MLS, suffering 281 fouls in 17 matches.

Individually, Valeri is tied for the league lead with eight assists, including four assists in the last four regular-season matches. The playmaking midfielder, who finished as the league-leader in assists (13) last season while winning MLS Newcomer of the Year honors, has tallied at least one point in six of the last nine regular-season games.

The Galaxy (5-3-5, 20pts) enter Friday’s match with the fewest number of games played (13) of any team in the Western Conference. Arena’s team has conceded a league-low 11 goals, while also compiling a five-game unbeaten streak heading into Friday’s match against the Timbers. The Galaxy, who are led by forward Robbie Keane’s seven goals and four assists, are coming off a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday at Stanford Stadium.

Following Friday’s match, the Timbers travel to face Seattle Sounders FC in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, July 9, at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.; kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). Portland faces Seattle twice in the same week as the Timbers again travel to face Sounders FC in a regular-season match on Sunday, July 13, at CenturyLink Field; kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (Pacific).