LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers | MLS Match Preview

LA GALAXY vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
June 19, 2013 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #144)
7:30 p.m. PT (TWCSN-LA/TWCD; KPTV-FOX)

A huge clash in the Western Conference is ahead at midweek as the LA Galaxy return home to play host to the Portland Timbers at StubHub Center. The Galaxy are coming off a lost two-game road swing, their last match a 3-1 loss at Real Salt Lake, and are now eight points out of the top spot in the conference. The Timbers are riding a 13-game undefeated streak and could take over the division lead with a victory in Carson, following a tight 1-0 home victory against West leaders FC Dallas last weekend.

REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Jeff Hosking; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Jesus Cisneros

MLS Career: 20 games; FC/gm: 20.6; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 3; pens: 5

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: LA: Marcelo Sarvas (caution accumulation; through June 19)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski, Diego Chara
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Omar Gonzalez (USA); Oscar Sorto, Jose Villarreal (USA U-20) … POR: Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME
(5 meetings): Galaxy 4 wins, 12 goals … Timbers 1 win, 7 goals … Ties 0
AT CARSON (3 meetings): Galaxy 3 wins, 7 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
RETURN MATCHES: 7/13: Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 8 p.m. PT (NBCSN); 9/29: Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 12:30 p.m. PT (NBC)

LAST YEAR (MLS)
4/14: LA 3, POR 1 (Donovan 44; Juninho 83; Beckham 91+ -- Boyd 23)
6/17: LA 1, POR 0 (Dunivant 61)
7/14: POR 3, LA 5 (Boyd 3, 70; Kimura 34 – Beckham 19, 24; Donovan 27; Keane 28, 64)

• The Galaxy won all three meetings between the clubs a year ago. Portland’s lone victory in five all-time meetings came in 2011 at Jeld-Wen Field.

• The Galaxy are 3-0-0 all-time in the series in Carson, having outscored the Timbers 7-1.

• Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. POR: P5 W4 L1 D0 … Caleb Porter vs. LA: first game

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy return to action after suffering a second consecutive defeat last time out, a 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on June 8 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Galaxy are in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 14 matches.

LAST MATCH

• RSL took the lead in the 44th minute when Khari Stephenson found the back of the net with a right-footed blast from outside the box that slipped past a screened Brian Rowe in the Galaxy goal.

• Landon Donovan leveled terms just three minutes later. After he challenged RSL central defender Nat Borchers on a header at the top of the box, the ball ricocheted between the two before landing perfectly for Donovan, who used textbook technique to bang a dipping volley that beat RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando to the far post.

HIGHLIGHTS: RSL 3, LA 1

• Real's Olmes Garcia came on as a substitute in the 58th minute, and immediately made an impact with his speed and long runs. First, in the 84th minute, he headed home the game-winner, timing his run perfectly to beat his defender to a cross from playmaker Javier Morales.

• He then sealed the match in second-half stoppage time, finishing off a breakaway after being loosed behind the Galaxy defense on another feed from Morales.

• Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that dropped a 5-0 decision to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Brian Rowe came in between the posts in place of Carlo Cudicini, and Jose Villarreal started in favor of Hector Jimenez.

• LA GALAXY (4-3-1-2): Brian Rowe - Sean Franklin, Tommy Meyer, A.J. DeLaGarza, Greg Cochrane - Michael Stephens (Hector Jimenez 84), Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas - Gyasi Zardes - Jose Villarreal (Robbie Rogers 71), Landon Donovan.

TEAM NEWS

• After conceding 10 goals in their first 12 league games of the season, the Galaxy have now allowed eight goals in their last two. They’ve lost back-to-back games for the second time this season, also dropping consecutive games May 5-11 vs. Houston and Vancouver.

• “The feeling from an effort standpoint and the way the game went isn't that [it was so poor], but the reality is you look at the score, and it's bad,” Landon Donovan said. “We've got to change things. There's no question. The status quo isn't cutting it. ... We're putting ourselves into a little bit of a hole right now, and we've got to dig ourselves out.”

• Five of the eight goals the Galaxy have conceded in the last two games have come after the 75th minute. The Galaxy have allowed 11 goals in league play in the final quarter-hour – and four in four CONCACAF Champions League games.

• “We're in a great position and doing just fine up to 82 and 83 minutes,” Donovan said. “[Missing key players] happens to teams throughout the year. That's why you have 28, 29, 30 guys on the roster, not 11 or 14. So that's not an excuse. Obviously, we want those guys back quickly, but we've got to do our job when they're not here.”

• Brian Rowe made his second league start of the season – also his second vs. Real Salt Lake. He kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win in the first meeting, April 27 in Sandy.

• “The first goal I think I could have done better on. There’s one when I dropped in place, a little inexperience,” said Rowe. “It’s only my second first team game, so I know I still have a lot to learn. I expect better of myself.”

• There could be a welcome addition to the Galaxy back four, as left back Todd Dunivant has returned to full training after missing six of the last eight league games, sidelined by a quadriceps injury.

• “I guess it's always wait and see,” said Dunivant. “But I feel a thousand times better than I did coming back before. Said associate head coach Dave Sarachan: “We lack some leadership and experience on the field. Obviously, from a technical side we're happy, but from the full-package side we're happy Todd's back in and ready to go.”

• Before heading off to join the U.S. national team for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Jose Villarreal returned to the starting lineup as part of an attacking trident that also included Gyasi Zardes and Landon Donovan playing in more underneath roles.

• “It doesn't taste good,” Sarachan said. “We're certainly not pleased about that, but we need some guys to step up, we need our leaders to be leaders, we have to have some of these young kids learn quicker on the job. It's a horse race. We're in the middle of a horse race, we're not at the end, so we know what's ahead of us.”

PORTLAND TIMBERS

The Portland Timbers stretched their undefeated to 13 matches, getting the only goal of the game for a victory against FC Dallas on Saturday afternoon at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers are in third place in the Western Conference with 26 points from 15 matches.

LAST MATCH

• The game's lone goal came in the 52nd minute. Receiving a pass from Kalif Alhassan on the left corner of the penalty area and Dallas defender George John at his back, Darlington Nagbe spun and buried a no-look, curler that FCD goalkeeper Raul Fernandez could only watch sail to the far corner.

• Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts recorded seven saves to preserve the Timbers' fifth consecutive shutout at home.

HIGHLIGHTS: POR 1, DAL 0

• Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made three changes to the team that settled for a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Donovan Ricketts came in between the posts in place of Milos Kocic, Mamadou Danso started in central defense for Andrew Jean-Baptiste, and Kalif Alhassan came into the side in place of Ben Zemanski.

• PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts - Michael Harrington, Pa Modou Kah, Mamadou Danso (Andrew Jean-Baptiste 51), Jack Jewsbury - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Kalif Alhassan (Ben Zemanski 84) - Diego Valeri, Frederic Piquionne (Ryan Johnson 72), Darlington Nagbe.

TEAM NEWS

• The Timbers extended their undefeated streak to 13 games – equaling the 10th longest in MLS history – with victory vs. Dallas. They can take over sole possession of the top spot in the Western Conference for the first time in the club’s MLS history with a victory vs. LA.

• “I thought in the second half in particular, we managed the game brilliantly. Even if you just look at our maturation as a team in one week, I thought this game versus the Fire game, we managed the end of the game much better,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “We're continuing to make progress as a team and that's very important. Games are going to be tight in this league.”

• Porter equaled an MLS record with a 13-game undefeated streak in his first season as an MLS head coach. Tom Soehn did it with D.C. United during the 2007 season.

• “I knew winning the game wasn’t going to make our season and losing wasn’t going to break our season,” Porter said. “We’re happy. We believed we could win. We performed well, and also knew we were playing against a really good team.”

• Darlington Nagbe scored his fifth goal of the season in the win vs. Dallas – a goal he called “probably No.1” of his three-year MLS career. Nagbe won the MLS Goal of the Year in his rookie season of 2011.

• “He’s the type of player that you’ve seen it, he can pull off a play like that at times. You’d wish he’d do it more, but he’s capable of that type of goal. I’ve seen him do it a number of times,” said Porter.

• The Timbers have recorded five consecutive shutouts in league play at Jeld-Wen Field, now at 480 minutes since conceding at home following the 1-0 win vs. FC Dallas. The MLS record is 817 minutes without allowing a home goal, set in 2000 by the Kansas City Wizards.

• "I feel like we kept the ball better. It wasn't as good as we wanted it to be when we went up 1-0, but I think we did better than we had done when we've gotten away with the lead," Nagbe said. “… We just needed to keep doing what we were doing and they were going to get tired and a goal was going to come. Just keep the shutout and we'd get the win.”

• Kalif Alhassan made his first start since May 8 – which was also against FC Dallas – and recorded his third assist of the season.

• “It just adds a little bit more speed up top,” Nagbe said. “Valeri can come off the side and pop balls over the top to me and Freddy and I can try to use my pace.”

• The Timbers also had defender Mamadou Danso back from suspension and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts back from international duty. The shutout was the sixth of the season for Ricketts, second in MLS behind New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and Sporting KC’s Jimmy Nielsen.