Riding their longest ever winning streak, the Portland Timbers imploded tonight as they were run over by the resurgent LA Galaxy in a 5-0 loss. Despite looking dangerous for long periods of the first half, the Timbers only managed one shot on goal against the defending champions, who battered the Timbers both with possession and on the break.
Things started off poorly when, in the 13th minute, the Galaxy hit the Timbers on a classic Bruce Arena counter, getting the ball out wide to Juninho. The LA midfielder looked to slip a ball through in front of goal, only to have it skip off the left of Jorge Villafana and spin into the center of the box. With the Timbers defenders rushing back into the box, it was Sebastian Lletget who was the first player to react to the ball as he shook off his marker, Alvas Powell. With no defenders around him and Adam Kwarasey off balance, Lletget was able to slot home a simple ball into the back of the net.
Timbers hearts would be broken again only minutes later as Maximiliano Urruti tried to run down Lletget on the break in the 18th minute. When Urruti put his hands on Lletget from behind, the new Galaxy acquisition hit the ground inside the Timbers box and referee Ted Unkle did not hesitate in pointing to the spot. Stepping up for the Galaxy was Robbie Keane, who sent Kwarasey the wrong way as he hesitated in his run up then hammered the ball home with a low, hard shot to his left.
Now chasing the game, the Timbers pressed forward and looked like they might be capable of breaking down a Galaxy back line that has struggled at times this season, but again it was the Galaxy hitting the Timbers on the counter and finding their third goal of the night. Getting the ball to Keane at the top of the Timbers box, the reigning MVP played a perfectly weighted ball behind Powell for the run of left back Robbie Rogers. With his first touch, Rogers hit a curled shot around the onrushing Kwarasey that the Timbers' keeper could only swipe at before it crossed the goal line, giving the Galaxy a 3-0 lead.
The hits just kept coming in the second half for the Timbers as, in the 72nd minute, LA turned the Timbers over deep in the Portland half. Getting the ball immediately to Keane at the top of the Timbers' box, he dropped a quick square ball into the path of a run from Juninho. Bursting past the Timbers back line, Juninho found himself one on one with Kwarasey and finished handily.
The final nail in the Timbers coffin would come in the 88th minute as Keane drew a soft foul just outside the Timbers box wide on the right. With the Timbers' wall out of position, it was a simple thing for Jose Villareal to hit a hard, low shot just inside the near post that skipped past the attempted dive of Kwarasey and put the Timbers down 5-0.
Goals were not the only thing that the Timbers gave up on the night, however, with the team going down a man as well in the 78th minute following a Liam Ridgewell red card for putting a high boot into the back of Alan Gordon as the two players contested a header in mid-air.
The Timbers have a quick turnaround this weekend as they are set to face the Seattle Sounders at Providence Park this Sunday. The loss drops the Timbers to fourth place and a record of 7-6-4.