Nat Borchers' injury is Timbers' biggest concern after streak-breaking loss

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers left Providence Park on Saturday frustrated with the way that their nine-game unbeaten run ended in a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy.

The bigger loss might be that of Nat Borchers.

There was no immediate word from the Timbers about the nature and severity of leg injury that knocked the veteran center back out of the match just before halftime. Borchers covered his face as he was stretchered to the locker room.

“First and foremost, keep prayers up for Borchers," defender Amobi Okugo said. "He’s been a strong leader in the back line. It’s unfortunate to see him go down.”

Okugo was forced into action alongside Jermaine Taylor in the center of the Timbers defense, which was already without Liam Ridgewell because of a calf injury.

“Amobi came in and did a great job, didn’t miss a beat,” Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson said. “It shows the quality that we have in this team and when one person goes down there’s that guy there to step in and do the job.”

Okugo played the left center back spot next to Zarek Valentin, with Taylor moving right next to fellow Jamaican Alvas Powell

“We hope and pray [Borchers] is going to be all right,” Valentin said. “I though Amobi stepped in and did a good job. I think he was very confident and composed on the ball and defensively as well.”

Okugo, who had played one minute this season before Saturday, said he was ready to step in thanks to getting playing time with Timbers 2, Portland’s USL side.

“It wasn’t too much of an adjustment to just jump in and adjust to the pace of the game,” he said.

However, the trouble for Portland’s back line came before Borchers’ exit. First, Giovani dos Santos got past Valentin for a cross and Robbie Keane drifted behind Borchers for the finish. Moments later, Gyasi Zardes who found himself with a point-blank finish and it was 2-0 Galaxy in the 11th minute.

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter credited the Galaxy for converting, but said both goals could have been prevented by defending the crosses better. Those lapses aside, Porter said he was pleased with the Timbers' performance.

“Ultimately, the result comes down to one thing and that’s the boxes and making plays,” Porter said. “They made one more play than us, even though we had twice as many chances.”