Preview: Galaxy, Timbers both looking for some momentum

LA-POR-DL 6-17-2012

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LA GALAXY vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
June 17, 2012 (WEEK 15, MLS Game #131)
5 p.m. PT (KDOC/KWHY; KPTV-FOX12)
 
The LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers meet for the second time this season when the clubs face off Sunday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy return to action winless in their last seven games in league play, after a 2-1 loss in Houston in a rematch of MLS Cup 2011 on May 26. The Timbers are unbeaten in four MLS contests, coming off a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at home, also on May 26.
 
REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Kevin Duliba; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 13 games; FC/gm: 22.7; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 2; pens: 9
 
 
INJURY REPORT:
LA GALAXY – OUT: DF Andrew Boyens (L sports hernia surgery); FW Edson Buddle (R knee surgery); FW Adam Cristman (concussion); DF Omar Gonzalez (L knee surgery); MF Dan Keat (R knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); QUESTIONABLE: DF Bryan Gaul (facial fracture); MF Hector Jimenez (L quad hematoma)
PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Eric Brunner (concussion); DF Rodney Wallace (R ankle sprain)
 
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES:
LA: Robbie Keane (Ireland)
Futty Danso (The Gambia)
 
SUSPENDED:
LA: Hector Jimenez (through June 17); Michael Stephens (through June 17); Mike Magee (through June 17)
 
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA: David Beckham … POR: Kris Boyd
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: Juninho, Landon Donovan … POR: Lovel Palmer
 
HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Galaxy 2 wins, 6 goals … Timbers 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
AT CARSON (2 meetings): Galaxy 2 wins, 6 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 7/14: Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 8 p.m. PT (NBC SN)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Goals from the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, Juninho and David Beckham responded to an early Kris Boyd strike as LA ran out 3-1 winners, April 14 at The Home Depot Center.
  • The teams split their two games in Portland’s inaugural season, the Galaxy winning 3-0 on April 23, and the Timbers returning the favor with a 3-0 win Aug. 3 at Jeld-Wen Field.
  • Coaches' records: Bruce Arena vs. POR: P3 W2 L1 D0 … John Spencer vs. LA: P3 W1 L2 D0
LAST MATCH (MLS):
4/14: LA 3, POR 1 (Donovan 44; Juninho 83; Beckham 91+ -- Boyd 23)
  • The Timbers broke in the 23rd minute. Eric Alexander sent a through ball behind the Galaxy back line and Kris Boyd ran onto it before slotting home with a low shot from just outside the area.
  • The Galaxy pulled even in the 44th minute. Streaking down the left side after receiving a through ball from Todd Dunivant, Robbie Keane rounded Eric Brunner in the corner before finding Landon Donovan, who buried a shot past Troy Perkins from inside the area.
  • The home side then took the lead for good in the 83rd minute. After a flurry of pressure around the Timbers area, Juninho latched onto a half-clearance and hammered a low rocket from beyond the area.
  • The Galaxy added the exclamation point in stoppage time when David Beckham added another goal to his highlight collection, bending the ball into the top corner from 25 yards out to beat Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, David Junior Lopes, Tommy Meyer, Todd Dunivant - Landon Donovan, Juninho, David Beckham, Mike Magee (Pat Noonan 81) - Robbie Keane, Chad Barrett (Edson Buddle 67).
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Steve Purdy, Hanyer Mosquera, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala - Kalif Alhassan (Franck Songo'o 58), Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury (Lovel Palmer 74), Eric Alexander - Darlington Nagbe, Kris Boyd (Jorge Perlaza 81).
LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy return to league play with a three-game losing skid, their last match a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo on May 26 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Galaxy are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 11 points from 13 games.
 
LAST MATCH
  • The Galaxy took an early lead. Edson Buddle, David Beckham and Chad Barrett carved up the Dynamo defense with three excellent passes, and the ball ended up at the feet of Buddle, who exploited space between Bobby Boswell and Andre Hainault to slot home a smooth right-to-left finish in the 10th minute.
  • The Dynamo drew level thanks to some good fortune. Brian Ching's shot crashed off the crossbar but unfortunately for Mike Magee and the Galaxy, his attempt to bring the ball down resulted in a rebound into an empty net.
  • The Dynamo then scored the match-winner in the 57th minute, when Andre Hainault headed home an inswinging corner from Brad Davis into the bottom corner.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that lost 3-2 to the San Jose Earthquakes at The Home Depot Center. Bryan Jordan and Kenney Walker came into the team in place of Hector Jimenez and Juninho.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Brian Perk - Sean Franklin, Bryan Gaul (David Junior Lopes 84), A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Bryan Jordan, Kenney Walker (Michael Stephens 46), David Beckham, Mike Magee - Chad Barrett (Pat Noonan 71), Edson Buddle.
TEAM NEWS
  • The defending MLS champion saw their winless run extended to seven games in MLS play, the club’s longest winless skid since 2008.
  • Of the last six goals the Galaxy have conceded, two have come directly from set pieces, two have come on penalty kicks, and one was the own goal which started with a dead ball situation.
  • “The two goals were a result of a set piece. It happened the other night against San Jose. Given the circumstances of the heat and travel and the two games in a short period of time, our guys gave a good effort,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “It was a little demanding on them and certainly the heat was a factor. It was a slow game and a sloppy game and it’s difficult to play under these conditions.”
  • Edson Buddle scored his second goal of the season, his first since the season opener, in the loss in Houston, but is now out likely until mid-July after undergoing knee surgery.
  • “When it rains it pours. It didn’t rain on us that much last year, and maybe we’re getting a little bit of it this year. I definitely feel we’re going to have some good things coming our way. Something good’s got to come at some point, and that’s going to start with us winning a game,” said striker Chad Barrett. “We’ve faced a lot of adversity. Maybe other teams in the second half will face what we’ve faced this year. Maybe this will work in our favor down the road.”
  • Additionally, Hector Jimenez, Mike Magee and Michael Stephens will miss Sunday’s game while serving suspensions that they were given by the MLS Disciplinary Committee, while Robbie Keane is still on international duty. Along with Buddle, reserve midfielder Dan Keat also underwent knee surgery.
  • “It’s hectic,” defender Todd Dunivant said. “We’ve dealt with it before, and it’s even more of a challenge now because we need points. It doesn’t matter who we put out there; we have to get points. It’s kind of the mentality we’re working with right now. It’s important we do that because we can’t keep pushing things under the rug. It’s now or never.”
  • The Galaxy will, however, have goalkeeper Josh Saunders back after he missed the last six regular season games while completing Major League Soccer’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program. Saunders returned for the Galaxy reserve match vs. Portland last week, a 2-1 LA win.
  • "He's done a good job, he's fit, he's mentally right," Arena said. "And obviously playing in the reserve game last weekend helped him." Said Saunders: “Whenever your team’s not winning, you're always thinking about it. You’ve got to look at the positives. There’s a lot of guys who are healthy. We are a good group of people, and we know we can win games.”
  • The Galaxy are now the only team remaining in Major League to have not posted a shutout in league play. A year ago, LA tied the all-time MLS record with 17 clean sheets.
  • “We knew going into the season once we lost Omar it was going to be difficult to get the right combination at the back, and we struggled with that a little bit,” Areana said. “Then obviously some personal issues with (goalkeeper) Josh Saunders took away a little continuity we had in the back, the national team call-ups, the injuries. But it’s something everyone has to deal with at some point.
  • In their only match since the Houston loss, the Galaxy were dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup at the first hurdle in a 2-1 loss at the NASL Carolina RailHawks.
  • Here’s Arena’s team: Bill Gaudette; Tommy Meyer, David Junior Lopes, Leonardo, Bryan Gaul (Rafael Garcia 71’); Hector Jimenez (Bryan Jordan 44’), Michael Stephens, Marcelo Sarvas, Kyle Nakazawa; Pat Noonan©, Chad Barrett (Mike Magee 65’).
  • "The fact that we had three guys come out with injuries, three guys who had actually been playing games, three guys that would have been in to play 90 minutes was a little bit unfortunate," Michael Stephens said. "I think you saw that a lot of guys ran out of legs down the stretch."
 
PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers make their return to league action for the first time since May 26, their last match a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers are in a tie for seventh place in the Western  Conference with 12 points from 12 games.
 
LAST MATCH
  • The game had an extended delay during halftime after a thunderstorm moved over the stadium with about 10 minutes left in the first half.
  • Both goals then came after the break. In the 67th minute, a cross from fullback Jack Jewsbury was punched out by Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon. But Kris Boyd was right there, and with his back to goal hooked the ball past Cannon from close range for the opener.
  • Vancouver leveled the score in the 84th minute when second-half substitute Darren Mattocks chested down Eric Hassli's header in the box, took a pair of touches to get past a defender and fired a right-footed blast past a diving Troy Perkins.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-3-1-2): Troy Perkins - Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, Eric Brunner (David Horst 46), Steven Smith - Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo 79), Diego Chara, Eric Alexander - Darlington Nagbe - Kris Boyd, Jorge Perlaza (Mike Fucito 88).
 
TEAM NEWS
  • While the Timbers have still not put together back-to-back victories this season, they did extend their league unbeaten run to four games with the draw against Vancouver.
  • “We're creating chances at will, almost. For us, we just looked at it after the Chicago game, and we looked at the result and we thought, 'You know what, great three points. Wasn't a great performance.' Never left us fulfilled as a coaching staff, because that's not the way we want to win games,” said Timbers head coach John Spencer. “We want to try to win with flair and creativity. I just think tonight we had a little bit of sparkle about us. I thought we were the best team on the field by far."
  • Kris Boyd scored his fourth goal of the season, his first since April 14, in the Timbers’ 1-1 draw with Vancouver last time out, May 26 at Jeld-Wen Field.
  • "I think we were a lot more offensive. We created numerous chances, we got at them, we pressed them higher up the field,” Boyd said. “We caused them problems in their half. We still looked steady at the back, and I think it was a positive performance."
  • Of the last six goals the Timbers have scored, since April 7, three have come from Boyd, a fourth was assisted by the striker, and two have come on own goals.
  • "You've got to get the forward chances. You get him a chance in the box, and the ball is in, and the ball is in the back of the net. It's plain and simple,” said Spencer. “We have one of the best finishers in the British game on our club, and if we don't get him chances, he's not going to score goals, it's plain and simple. I think we got him a couple of looks and he finishes one off. That's what he does. He's a penalty box player."
  • The Timbers ran out a bit of a tactical change with Darlington Nagbe underneath the front duo of Boyd and Jorge Perlaza, and Eric Alexander and Kalif Alhassan on the wings.
  • “I thought it worked because I’ve been saying time and time again that we’re lacking a bit of creativity, we’re lacking that final pass across into the box,” Spencer said. “I think tonight we showed that when we get it to our feet we possess the ball extremely well.”
  • Since the last league match, the Timbers acquired Danny Mwanga, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft out of nearby Oregon State University, from Philadelphia Union in exchange for Jorge Perlaza. Neither striker scored a goal for his club this season.
  • “It would have been nice if things went differently,” Mwanga said. “It would have been great if I could have helped the team more. ... But it’s almost like a new beginning. … They really did all they could do to get me to come back here. And coming here I think I owe it to them. Just having them at the top of the organization is a big motivation for me to work hard and be able to help the team.”
  • After the Vancouver match, the Timbers were dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup at the first asking, a 1-0 home loss to amateur side Cal FC.
  • Here’s the Portland team: Troy Perkins; Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, David Horst, Steven Smith (Freddie Braun 46); Kalif Alhassan, Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, Eric Alexander (Brent Richards 65); Jorge Perlaza, Kris Boyd (Ryan Kawulok 90)
  • "There's no excuses for tonight. No excuses whatsoever. We should come here, we should win the game,” Spencer said. “I don't think we should win the game easy, but I don't think we should lose the game. Not at all. Totally unacceptable. And there are no excuses."
  • Since then, the Timbers have returned to the training ground. “It’s a lull in the season, and now you’re really hungry to get back at it and tired of taking lumps out of your teammates,” Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. “So I think the guys are really ready to go.”