It may have been another frustrating finish for the Portland Timbers as they watched three points slip away in the waning minutes Friday night against the LA Galaxy.
And full points are exactly what Portland need should a move above the red line in the Western Conference ever come to be.
But in a vacuum, Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said in his postgame comments from the StubHub Center, a point on the road following a 2-2 draw against the Galaxy is never anything to be too disappointed about.
“I’m not going to let where we’re at the in the table taint the fact that that’s a very good point on the road against a very good team with a big crowd,” Porter said. “In the end, we gave them all they could handle and they gave us all we could handle.”
It’s just that it was setting up so well for the Timbers, who urgently could have used a win following their 1-0 loss last weekend to Sporting Kansas City.
Second-half goals from Diego Valeri and Jorge Villafana offset a 65th-minute Marcelo Sarvas strike to open scoring, after a uneventful first 45 minutes, and had Portland heading into the final minutes holding a 2-1 victory.
But an unfortunate own goal from center back Rauwshan McKenzie, who had turned in a solid performance otherwise, on a Baggio Husidic pass left the Timbers snake bitten once again and now winless in three league games since their June 7 triumph over Real Salt Lake. Still, Porter didn’t dwell on the negative, saying it was “probably a fair result” between two good teams.
“I thought across the board I got good performances from pretty much every guy on both sides of the ball,” he said. “One of the things I told them is if we play like we did tonight over the course of the next 16 games, we’re going to be where we need to be, there’s no doubt about it.”
Porter also noted that the Timbers have never lost at StubHub, against either LA or Chivas USA, since he took over before last season and that they are unbeaten in five games against the Galaxy.
“Every time we play the LA Galaxy, it’s an absolute battle,” Porter said. "They’re one of the best teams in the league. They had their big guns today, they came to play, they were up for it and I thought we matched them toe-to-toe. I thought it was a very even game.”
And as both teams look to move into the playoff race, Timbers captain Will Johnson also noted that the result was a failure of the Galaxy to pick up three points at home. Portland will have a chance against another conference rival next Sunday when they travel to face the Seattle Sounders, just four days after they face their Cascadia rivals in a US Open Cup quarterfinals matchup.
“Obviously we’re disappointed that we didn’t close out the game, but the point allows us to stay in the race and it doesn’t allow the Galaxy to get three points ahead of us,” Johnson said. “So it’s more important on that front from me.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.