Today, the Portland Timbers got their first away win since bringing home the MLS Cup in 2015, beating the LA Galaxy 1-0 thanks to a Diego Chara goal.
The Timbers started things off with a bang, opening the scoring the 8th minute on a beautiful break down the pitch. Off a Galaxy corner, it was Sebastian Blanco who corralled the ball, taking a look down the pitch and hitting an inch-perfect outlet to the head of Diego Chara making an end to end run down the pitch. As the ball fell to him, Chara nodded it forward past the last LA defender and into the path of Diego Valeri. With only one defender back for the Galaxy, Valeri took a touch, drew out Galaxy keeper Clément Diop, and slipped a quick pass back into the center of the pitch for Chara to tap home, giving the Timbers the 1-0 lead.
Now up a goal in the early going, the Timbers looked primed to take control of the match, and for the next fifteen minutes they did, looking like the more dominant side.
Things looked likely to tilt even further in the Timbers’ direction in the 32nd minute when Galaxy captain Jelle Van Damme received his second yellow card of the match, putting the home side down a man. The call was controversial, however, as it appeared that the second yellow was given despite a lack of contact between Van Damme and his target: David Guzman. While Guzman was not touched by the tackle, he did jam his shoulder into the turf, forcing the Timbers to take him out of the match minutes later.
Despite the Timbers’ man advantage, the match was a back and forth affair with chances coming for both sides.
The Timbers came close to extending their lead late in the second half when the Timbers broke down the pitch once again. As Fanendo Adi sprinted down the pitch, the last defender, Raul Garcia, slipped, putting Adi in one on one with Diop. Although Adi was able to dribble the Galaxy keeper, Garcia’s recovery run put him back in the LA box just in time to slide in and block away the big man’s shot, keeping the score at 1-0.
The Galaxy had their chance to even things up in the fourth minute of stoppage time as they poured men forward, only to see their hopes scuttled by a big save from Jake Gleeson. Off a curling ball toward the Timbers’ back post, LA midfielder Jose Villareal flicked the ball on sending it skipping on goal. Gleeson, who had gone down with an injury moments earlier, threw himself to the side, getting a paw to the ball and pushing it past the post to see out the win.
The Timbers return home for their next match, hosting the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, March 18th.