The Portland Timbers gave up an early goal, but were able to claw their way back into the match to take a point at home against the LA Galaxy in this afternoon’s 1-1 draw. The curiously low energy match marks the first time that the Timbers have dropped points at home in 2018 and break’s the team’s six game winning streak; leaving them instead with a seven game unbeaten streak.
The Timbers looked dangerous early on in the 4th minute as Diego Chara played a through ball in for Andres Flores to run onto. Flores carried the ball into the LA box and looked to pick out the far post with a side footed shot, but Galaxy keeper David Bingham was able to get low and make the save.
Despite the Timbers’ early pressure, the Galaxy were able to put their mark on the game as well, almost opening the scoring in the 11th minute as Emma Boateng played a square ball into the box that it looked like Mabiala would clear, only for Chris Pontius to sneak a toe in on the ball, poking it off the near post and out for a goal kick.
After coming close the first time, Pontius made his second chance of the day count, opening the scoring for the Galaxy in the 20th minute. With the Galaxy on the break, Boateng hit a long diagonal ball to Pontius making a run at the Timbers back line. With a defender on his hip, Pontius controlled the ball and fired off a quick shot that skipped past the dive of Jeff Attinella before picking out the inside of the post to give LA the 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, the Timbers came close to pulling one back off a quick one-two on the edge of the Galaxy box. With the Timbers on the hunt in the Galaxy half, Chara found Sebastian Blanco on the edge of the box with a quick pass. Blanco immediately returned the favor playing Chara into the box and in on goal. One on one with the Galaxy keeper, Chara hit a hard shot at the near post, but could not find his way past Bingham who made his second save of the match.
The Timbers were almost able to capitalize on a Galaxy mistake in the 42nd minute, only for Bingham to make another clutch save for the visitors. After a bouncing long ball slipped between the Galaxy’s center backs, Diego Valeri and Samuel Armenteros pounced on the ball and it was Armenteros who got there first, sticking out a boot to send the bouncing ball toward goal only for Bingham to make himself big and knock the ball away.
After returning from the half looking reenergized, the Timbers were able to put together a chance in short order when Blanco was taken down on the dribble in the Galaxy half. On the free kick, Valeri served in a long ball to the back post that Cascante rose up above the crowd to meet, putting a strong header on goal but right into the hands of Bingham.
The Timbers would not be denied, however, and in the 57th minute they broke through the Galaxy defense. A pass into the Galaxy box found Flores who brought the ball down and touched it forward, only to be bundled over by center back Jørgen Skjelvik, giving center referee Alan Kelly no pause as he awarded the Timbers a penalty kick. Diego Valeri stepped up to the spot for the Timbers and struck the ball hard and to his left, giving Bingham no chance at the ball and evening the score at one apiece.
It was not long before the Galaxy were able to create another chance, regaining some of the match’s momentum for themselves. In the 60th minute, Galaxy full back Ashley Cole got on the ball and cut inside from his station out on the wing, skipping around several challenges before hitting a low, hard shot to the feet of Attinella who got down quickly to make the save and hold on to the ball with players all around him.
After a back and forth second half that saw both teams probing for a chance, but few coming, the Timbers came close again in the 83rd minute when they found Fanendo Adi out wide on the flank. The Timbers big man served in a curling ball to the back post that found the head of Bill Tuiloma who powered a shot on goal, only for Bingham to sprawl out and push the attempt wide, leaving the match knotted up at 1-1.
The point moves the Timbers into a tie with Los Angeles FC for third place in the Western Conference, although the California club remain ahead on goal differential.