At halftime, down 1-0 to the LA Galaxy, the situation looked grim for the Portland Timbers. The Galaxy had lost only once at home in 2015 and the Timbers, despite a two game road winning streak, have always been stronger at home than away form the cozy confines of Providence Park.
Turns out, none of that mattered. Spurred on by a brace from none other than Fanendo Adi, the Timbers roared back in the second half, grabbing the lead and not letting go until the final whistle when the game wrapped up with the absurd scoreline of 5-2. Adi, Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, and Maximiliano Urruti were the goalscorers as the Timbers found the scoring touch that had eluded the team all season and, for the first time since the club joined MLS, scored five second half goals.
After falling behind in the first half due to a defensive miscue from Liam Ridgewell that freed Robbie Keane to hit a beautifully struck half-volley over Adam Kwarsey, the Timbers finally started going toe to toe with the Galaxy but still went into the break down one.
After the half, however, the Timbers poured on the pressure and it was the Galaxy who were on the back foot from the opening whistle. That pressure paid off in the 65th minute when Diego Valeri broke down the pitch thanks to a brilliant touch from Darlington Nagbe that set him free past the LA midfield. With Rodney Wallace, Lucas Melano, and Adi all running ahead of him, Valeri found Melano with the opening pass into the box. Melano then knocked a quick touch central for Adi who turned on a dime and fired a close range shot that Donovan Ricketts could only wave at as it rippled the back of the net.
Only two minutes later the Timbers were once again charging down the pitch and again it was Melano looking to connect with Adi for the goal as he cut in from out on the right and chipped a simple cross for the big man, only to see him dragged down by Galaxy defender Dan Gargan. Referee Alan Kelly had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, but too pity on Gargan, only giving him a yellow card. With one goal already in the bank, Adi stepped up to take his second penalty of the week. Unlike Nick Rimando, Donovan Ricketts would guess the right way as Adi struck a low, hard shot on goal, but the ball still squeaked beneath the former-Timber to give Portland the lead for the first time in the match.
Now down a goal the Galaxy went all in on the attack, bringing on a series of attacking subs and pushing forward. The Timbers' defense, in turn, bent but did not break, absorbing pressure from the Galaxy and allowing the Timbers to launch counter attack after counter attack back down the pitch.
Those counters would pay off in the 74th minute as the Timbers got the ball into the LA box and worked it to Rodney Wallace who, with defenders baring down on him, chipped a simple ball into the open space in the center of the LA box, finding the late run of Diego Chara who, unmarked, was free to put a hard header on goal. Ricketts got a piece of the ball, but unlike Kwarasey earlier in the match, was not able to make the save, only slightly altering the ball's trajectory as Chara's header struck home.
In the 84th minute it looked like there might be some life left in the Galaxy as they pulled a goal back thanks to a flicked on Keane header that just skipped inside the Timbers' far post, but that thought was banished less than a minute later as, 18 seconds after play resumed, Darlington Nagbe got onto a flicked on header from Urruti after burning past Omar Gonzalez, rounded the charge of Ricketts, and slipped home the ball to put the Timbers up 4-2.
The Timbers were not done there, however, and with regular time coming to a close they managed to find one last goal. In the 90th minute Jorge Villafana got on the ball charging down the left flank he had patrolled all match with great success and cut in toward the Galaxy goal. Hurling a sliding tackle from Galaxy center back Leonardo, Villafana got free in the box and dropped a simple pass back to Urruti at the top of the six yard box where the Timbers' striker hit a simple but solid shot at the near post that Ricketts again had no chance at saving.
The win moves the Timbers into fourth place in the Western Conference. If the results go the Timbers way this week, the team could still finish the season as high as second place in the West, although they will still need a result -- or a San Jose Earthquakes loss -- to guarantee their spot in the playoffs. The Timbers' final match of the season is next Sunday when they will host the Colorado Rapids at Providence Park.