By MIKE DONOVAN
PORTLAND, Ore.- After 90 minutes of scoreless soccer, the Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy each scored in second half stoppage-time to provide a wild finish to their Mother’s Day match.
Robbie Keane’s goal looked to be the winner for LA, but Portland received its answer from Diego Valeri and the teams finished even at 1-1, Sunday afternoon in Portland.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Keane broke the deadlock when he found himself completely unmarked on a Dan Gargan long throw-in. The Irishman headed the ball home after a complete breakdown in defending by the Timbers backline with Futty Danso letting the ball through unimpeded to Keane.
“I thought (Donovan Ricketts) would have it but obviously I didn’t look,” Danso said. “Keane just came from the back post and had a free header.”
Minutes later, in the fifth minute of stoppage, the Timbers found their answer when Will Johnson back-heeled a pass to Valeri, who then fired it home underneath a diving Penedo. Penedo was able to get an arm on the shot but it was not enough.
“We had everyone in the box,” said Valeri, who scored his second goal of the season. “Will made a great play with his left and it was just finishing it.”
Between the two goals, LA thought it might be the beneficiary of a penalty kick as Juninho raced down the field and lost the ball after a challenge from Darlington Nagbe. Armando Villarreal did not call a foul, however, as a furious LA bench yelled at the fourth official.
“The referee needs to give us that call on Juninho,” LA manager Bruce Arena said. “It’s at least a foul- yellow card, red card, whatever.”
One of the players at the center of the play, didn’t think it was a foul, however.
“I was the last guy back, just chasing back, looked like I was quick enough to get there,” Nagbe said. “A little bit (of contact), it wasn’t a PK though.”
The best chance for either club before the goals came when a second half Futty Danso flicked header hit the post and was eventually cleared by Baggio Husidic. Overall, however, it was LA who seemed to have the upper hand, outshooting the host Timbers by a 21-to-10 margin and outpossessing Portland.
“I don’t think we ever got into a rhythm. It wasn’t really our style of play, the way we like to go about things, in terms of our pressure and our possession,” Timbers defender Jack Jewsbury said. “We just seemed a bit off today.”
Omar Gonzalez was not in the lineup for the Galaxy after sustaining a knee injury in the club’s last match. Kofi Opare received his first start of the season in Gonzalez’s stead.
Still searching for the goal that will put him alone at the top of MLS’s all-time leading goalscoring list, Landon Donovan was unable to put his name on the scoresheet. Midway through the first half he found the ball at his feet just in front of the Portland net, but he was unable to turn on goal. Later in the match, Donovan also forced a Ricketts save in the 80th minute, but his search goes on.
In addition to his three shots, Donovan, who will likely be heading to U.S. Men’s national team camp this week, had the most successful passes of any player on the field with 53.
“Landon was the best player on the field today,” Arena said. “Played very well. Good to see.”
Despite salvaging the draw, the Timbers were left scratching their heads over conceding another goal that could have been prevented in their eyes.
“It’s exactly the problem and exactly why we have this conversation every week because guys aren’t making plays, simple as that. It’s another amateur mistake in the box,” Johnson, the Timbers captain said. “At this level I don’t know how that happens. It’s embarrassing, it’s hard to put into the words.”
Portland was forced to make two substitutions during the match due to injury with Michael Harrington and Diego Chara leaving early.
Next up for the Timbers (1-3-6, 9 points) is a home match with the Columbus Crew where they will look to continue their 21-game home unbeaten streak.
“As far as how we feel right now, it’s disappointing. We’re not anywhere near where we should be with the quality of guys we have in this locker room,” Johnson said. “And that’s on us, simple as that.”
Meanwhile LA (2-2-3, 9 points) will finish up a three-match road trip by taking on the Houston Dynamo next Saturday.