PORTLAND, Ore. – With the Portland Timbers looking to move forward to a new era, the LA Galaxy turned back the clock with an epic performance from their veteran stars in a 5-3 win Saturday night at JELD-WEN Field.
Midfielder David Beckham recorded a first-half brace – two vintage, curling strikes from distance – forward Robbie Keane put in two goals of his own, and Landon Donovan notched a goal and assist for good measure.
And it was a good thing, too, with a new-look Timbers side in their first game under interim boss Gavin Wilkinson looking to play some exciting soccer as well following the firing of former head coach John Spencer earlier in the week.
It was an era that started with much promise. In the third minute, midfielder Kalif Alhassan found Kris Boyd cutting to the near post on a perfectly placed cross. Boyd fought in front of defender David Junior Lopes and finished over goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
But then Beckham got started on a very Beckham-like performance.
In the 19th minute, Beckham found himself with the ball in space and, from 35 yards out, beat goalkeeper Troy Perkins with an arching wonder strike.
He struck again just five minutes later. This time, on a free kick from 22 yards, he unleashed his patented bending shot that cleared the wall and beat a diving Perkins to the inside post.
LA piled on in the 27th minute when a penalty kick was awarded after right back Kosuke Kimura brought down midfielder Michael Stephens in the box. Donovan converted coolly past Perkins to make the score 3-1.
A minute later, Donovan got to work on some familiar play of his own when he beat defender David Horst for a clean run down the right wing. Keane tapped home Donovan’s cross the Galaxy’s fourth goal and Donovan’s 100th career MLS assist.
The fast-paced action continued with Portland getting one back through Kimura, his first in a Timbers uniform. He pounced after Saunders mishandled a Boyd free kick from 25 yards.
Both teams kept the foot on the gas in the second half, and it was Keane who finally broke through. The Irishman’s second strike came in the 64th minute off a cross from Sean Franklin.
Boyd completed a two-goal night of his own with a bouncing free kick from 30 yards that beat a diving Saunders.
With the result, the Galaxy’s second consecutive win, LA move into striking distance of fourth place in the Western Conference standings, just four points behind Vancouver. The Galaxy and Whitecaps will face off Wednesday at BC Place.
The loss was Portland’s first at JELD-WEN Field since a 2-1 decision against Chivas USA on April 7. Portland are tied with Dallas for last place with 19 points from 17 games. They now head to the dreaded road, where they have yet to win in eight games, for a Wednesday afternoon game against Chivas USA.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||David Beckham||There will be a long "David Beckham Highlight Reel" when he retires. Both of tonight's goals will be on it. His defensive hustle setting up Keane's first probably won't make the cut, but it's the kind of play that wins games.|
|2||Robbie Keane||The Irishman spent less time arguing with teammates and refs and more time getting in front of goal. The results were positive, which should give LA fans a reason for optimism heading into the season's final third.|
|3||Marcelo Sarvas||Juninho who? Sarvas looked far more comfortable playing central alongside Beckham, making the simple plays that unleashed his glamorous teammates upon the Portland defense.|
HIGHLIGHTS: POR vs LA