In the 74th minute, LAFC had equalized, 1-1, following Carlos Vela’s beautiful, curling strike. That goal snapped the Timbers' league-best streak of 350-plus minutes without conceding a goal and breathed new life into the team which leads the league in away goals (17).
LAFC committed numbers forward, but Portland made a defensive stop, recovering the ball off of a deflection.
Armenteros, after dropping deep to provide defensive cover, collected the ball and sprinted downfield some 50 yards. Looking to pass, he sized up his teammates' runs and noticed no one from LAFC had stepped up to pressure him.
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Without a defender stepping up, the Swedish international was given ample space just outside of the box, where he emphatically launched the game-winner into the back of the net, to make it 2-1 for the Timbers.
“To tell you the truth, I didn’t even look at the ball – I just focused on the shot,” Armenteros said following the match. “It went so fast that I just reacted, and when I saw the fans screaming, I thought it was a hit. I’m very happy with the result.”
It was the second late game-winning goal for the Timbers in as many games. While Sebastian Blanco’s goal celebration involved donning a frightening Chucky mask, Armenteros’s celebration was impromptu and unscripted: the excited striker ran past the signboards, up the stairs, and into the very heart of Timbers Army, where he was embraced by delirious fans.
Come for the goal, stay for the celebration! 🙌— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) May 19, 2018
Samuel Armenteros scores a rocket and celebrates in style as Portland re-take the lead at home. pic.twitter.com/K5sp0h0IHH
On his way back, Armenteros embraced teammates at the bottom of the stairs and as he approached the center circle, referee Drew Fischer admonished him for “time wasting,” issuing Armenteros a yellow card.
Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese beamed about Armenteros' contributions. “Armenteros has been fantastic. Every time he has stepped on the field he’s given us what we needed.”
“It was a yellow well-deserved,” Savarese continued. “It’s a [yellow card] you want to have because you scored a goal, you are celebrating with the fans.
“I like my players to be able to show their emotions but to be smart. Armenteros has all the right to be able to jump in there. He's been working very hard and he scored a fantastic goal.”
That particular yellow card was the sixth issued in a match that so heated even that the teams’ coaches, Savarese and LAFC’s Bob Bradley, had an intense exchange when the final whistle blew.
After the match, Bob Bradley stated simply, “No comment.”
Savarese offered little more than to say they “were having a little bit of a chat at the end.”
“We've known each other a long, long time,” Savarese said of Bradley. “The respect is always there between the two of us and he's a great coach.”