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Portland Timbers Fall Apart Early, Can’t Come Through Late in 2-1 Loss to LA Galaxy

MLS: LA Galaxy at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers were undone in the early minutes of today’ match against the LA Galaxy as the side broke their nine game unbeaten run with a 2-1 loss at Providence Park.

The match started poorly for the Timbers as the Galaxy were able to jump out to a 2-0 lead in just the first eleven minute of play.

In the 7th minute, the Galaxy quickly go the ball down the pitch and found designated player and attacking midfielder Giovanni Dos Santos wide on the Timbers’ left. Dos Santos took a touch around Zarek Valentin and chipped in a low cross that caught the Timbers’ back line flat, but fell perfectly for ever-ready Robbie Keane, who was able to stick out a boot and touch the ball home past Jake Gleeson in goal.

The Galaxy struck again just four minutes later and again the goal came off a quick move down the pitch and service in from the wing. This time the ball came down the Timbers’ right and speedy Galaxy homegrown player Emmanuel Boateng was able to clip in a cross that just evaded the sliding block of Alvas Powell. With the Timbers’ defense rushing back toward their own goal it was all that Nat Borchers could do to get a diving boot to the ball, only to see his deflection angle up and directly to the head of Gyassi Zardes at the back post where the USMNT forward was able to nod the ball home.

Now down by a brace, the Timbers charged back into the game, pouring the pressure on LA as the Galaxy dared the home side to break them down. For most of the first half, it looked like the Timbers would have to be content with a series of low-percentage shots around the organized LA defense, but as the match wore on the Timbers began to find some purchase with Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe finding space in and around the Galaxy box.

Finally, in the 41st minute, the Timbers found their break-through. With the ball at his feet inside the LA box, Nagbe looked toward goal but found himself surrounded by defenders. With the LA back line drawn to him, Nagbe dropped a ball back for the forward run of Valentin, who received the ball just outside the box. With room to work, Valentin took a touch and fired a low shot past the dive of LA keeper Brian Rowe to pull the Timbers back within one.

Coming back from the break it was once again the Timbers pressing forward and creating chances, but now the Galaxy were back to their impressively organized norm.

The Timbers would go forward time and time again, but the LA defense held strong throughout the second half, preserving the 2-1 as time wound down.

The Timbers are on the road for their next match, facing Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, July 31st.