Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Timbers 3, LA Galaxy 3
A wild six-goal thriller sees Portland leave LA with a point.
The Portland Timbers drew 3-3 with the LA Galaxy on Saturday night in Carson. The first half featured five goals, with Santiago Moreno scoring early and Felipe Mora forcing an own-goal. Portland lost the lead twice, with LA getting goals from Eriq Zavaleta and Douglas Costa, with Zavaleta tallying his second to go ahead right before halftime. Mora struck in the second half to level the game, and it ended all square with the sides sharing the spoils.
The Timbers trotted out a very similar lineup to last match, with Evander remaining sidelined due to a calf injury. Cristhian Paredes came back into the eleven after serving a yellow card suspension, and Antony earned his second straight start on the wing.
The Galaxy were without talisman Riqui Puig, who was unavailable due to an ankle injury. DP Douglas Costa made his return after missing the last several matches for LA.
It did not take long for the fireworks to start in Los Angeles. Five minutes into the match, Dairon Asprilla cut back a ball right in front of goal and Santiago Moreno was on the scene to direct the ball home and give Portland the early lead. But just five minutes after that, the Galaxy answered right back and scored via a header from Eriq Zavaleta off a corner kick.
It was the third game running that the Timbers conceded a goal just minutes after scoring — and the worrying trend would rear it’s ugly head later in the half.
Before that though, the Timbers had to deal with an injury. Paredes went down off the ball with what appeared to be a left leg injury, and he was subbed out for Noel Caliskan shortly after.
Portland restored some positive vibes minutes later as a Felipe Mora shot took a wicked deflection and created an own-goal to give Portland their one goal lead back. But just like the last one, it lasted just five minutes as LA answered right back via a screamer from Douglas Costa.
Right before half Portland’s defense broke once more as LA added a third goal off a set piece yet again. The Galaxy faked-out the Timbers defensive line and got them to bite with a feint delivery, and then the real service saw Zavaleta streak past that unaware defenders to head home his second (or third, depending on how you score it) goal of the night.
Portland went into the locker room trailing 3-2, after seeing a lead evaporate twice.
The Timbers didn’t threaten much in the opening twenty minutes of halftime, and at the 71st minute Miles Joseph changed it up by introduced Sebastian Blanco and Franck Boli into the game.
That duo played a part in Portland leveling the match, as Blanco played in a low cross that Boli met, but had his shot blocked. The ball rolled through in the box, and Mora pounced and slide through to meet the ball first and fire it home into the upper ninety to score the equalizer.
Despite a handful of late half-chances for Portland to steal a winner, the match ended 3-3 with Portland picking up a point. The result was good enough to keep Portland in seventh place in the Western Conference, and it also meant that the Timbers stretched their unbeaten run to seven games.
5’ GOAL TIMBERS! 1-0. Felipe Mora collected the ball in the attacking third, and chipped it forward for Dairon Asprilla. Dairon streaked past his defender to get on the end of the ball, and he chopped it back on the deck for Santiago Moreno, who hammered the ball home at the doorstep to give Portland the early lead.
10’ Goal Galaxy 1-1. A worrying trend for the Timbers continued as they conceded just minutes after scoring. This time it was Eriq Zavaleta who headed home a corner kick after he muscled past Juan Mosqeura in the box and beat Dario Zuparic to the ball, leveling the score.
33’ Cristhian Paredes went down behind the play off the ball, with what appeared to be a left hamstring non-contact injury. He was replaced by Noel Caliskan.
38’ OWN-GOAL! 2-1 Timbers. Some slick combination play saw Mosqeura find Felipe Mora at the top of the box, who then laid it off for Moreno. Santi gave it right back to Pipe, who tried an attempt on goal. The ball took a big deflection off the chest of Zavaleta and got past Bond to restore Portland’s lead.
43’ Goal Galaxy 2-2. Once again Portland conceded five minutes after scoring, as a poor defensive clearance from Caliskan saw the ball fall to Costa in the box, and he rifled it home into the top corner to level affairs once again.
45’+1 Goal Galaxy 2-3. In first half stoppage time it went from bad to worse for the Timbers, as some free kick trickery from the Galaxy saw Portland concede from a set piece yet again — and again from the head of Eriq Zavaleta.
HALFTIME: Galaxy - 3, Timbers - 2. Portland lost a lead twice and then went behind entirely as a wild five-goal opening forty-five minutes comes to a close and sees Portland go into the locker room trailing for the first time since earlier this month in Seattle.
Both sides came out unchanged for the start of the second half.
55’ Jonathan Bond made a great reaction save to tip over a Mora header, which Felipe steered on frame from a Moreno free kick.
76’ GOAL TIMBERS! 3-3. Sebastian Blanco, recently introduced into the fray, fizzed the ball into the box on the deck, and Franck Boli was there first to meet it. Boli’s shot was blocked, but the ball squirted through and Mora was the first to get to it, as the Chilean slid through and poked it home to level the game.
90’+3 Larrys Mabiala had a late chance to steal a winner, but his header off a corner kick sailed wide of the post
FULL TIME: Galaxy - 3, Timbers - 3.
The Timbers had a lead, lost it, got it back, lost it again, went down, and then battled back to scrap out a point.
Just an average Saturday on this roller coaster of a Timbers season.
All in all, the road point is a very good point. It keeps Portland right in the thick if the playoff race, and still gives them a chance to potentially avoid the play-in round of the playoffs. The play of Santiago Moreno and Felipe Mora was inspiring tonight, as the former continued to shine in a central role and the latter showcased his lethal goalscoring tendencies to score a huge equalizer (and force a fortunate own-goal).
However, this match could ultimately have been more for the Timbers, and might wind up hurting them in a few weeks time. Holding the lead and then losing it — twice — is concerning, as is the continued trend of Portland switching off and conceding right after they score. Those are issues that will limit Portland in the postseason — or even prevent them from reaching it entirely.
But even more concerning is the health of Cristhian Paredes. He went down with a non-contact leg injury tonight and had to be subbed out. Miles Joseph didn’t have an update after the game, and said he’s still being evaluated. Whatever the prognosis is, Paredes’ health is vital for Portland to finish the season strong, so here’s hoping his injury doesn’t keep him out for too extended of a period.
Portland has one last away fixture remaining, as they travel to Quebec next Saturday to face CF Montreal. Kickoff on October 7 is set for 4:30 p.m. PT.