A moment of pure brilliance in a match that flaunted grit and controversy gave the Portland Timbers a 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy on Sunday at StubHub Center.
The Galaxy played down a man for nearly two-thirds of the match, but improved after Jelle van Damme’s ejection, and nearly snatched a late draw, only to have Jake Gleeson deny Jose Villarreal with a stunning late save.
Portland started the scoring seemingly out of nowhere in the eighth minute, as Diego Valeri found Diego Chara on a two-on-one counter. Sebastian Blanco played a terrific ball downfield to Chara off a Galaxy corner. Chara found Valeri and the Argentinian playmaker dropped to the ball back to the Colombian enforcer for an easy finish.
The goal was only the seventh for Chara in MLS, with his last coming against the Galaxy on October 18, 2015.
Controversy took over in the middle of the first half, as Jelle Van Damme saw a pair of quick yellows that led to an ejection. The first caution received by the Belgian defender was for dissent after Baldomero Toledo whistled for a foul. The second came in the 34th minute after he lunged in against David Guzman just past the center circle.
The red card had an unexpected effect on the match, as the Timbers began to struggle to find a grip on the game while the Galaxy appeared to improve despite playing with 10 men, and despite losing Gio Dos Santos to a right leg injury at halftime.
The Timbers almost locked the game up in the 72nd minute, as Fanendo Adi rumbled down the field on a breakaway. The Nigerian appeared to have an open look on goal after eluding Clement Diop and fending off Sebastian Lletget, but Rafael Garcia rushed back just in time to slide in and stop the scoring opportunity.
The victory was Portland’s second of the seasone, while the Galaxy dropped their second consecutive game at home to start the Curt Onalfo era.
Portland will look to make it three for three to start the 2017 campaign on Saturday at home against 2-0 Houston, while the Galaxy will try to rebound against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Man of the Match
On a day when he shouldn’t have had much to do, Jake Gleeson stepped up late with a top-notch save that prevented disaster for the Timbers.
Moment of the Match
As ugly as the match was, it had a moment of brilliance in the form of the buildup to Diego Chara’s goal, which was a masterful counterattack that saw Sebastian Blanco, Diego Valeri and Chara combine for the early finish.
Match to Forget
Regardless of how you feel about the controversy, Jelle van Damme shouldn’t have made such a risky challenge right after a yellow card. It was ill-advised for the leader of a young team to go in that hard on Guzman and he paid the price.
This game featured a blatant dive that lead to the best Galaxy defender gettting a second yellow, and injured the person diving. How is that moment not featured more in this piece?
Yeah completely changed the game. LA was taking it to Portland at times even a man down….even would have been a different game.
I would be VERY disappointed to not see two suspensions. One for sure, the other might depend on camera angles.
As egregious and cowardly as Chara’s feckless dive may have been, don’t think he can be suspended, as no card was issued, and therefore no DisCo review is automatically initiated.
Guzman, on the other hand… a separated shoulder is perhaps one of the juiciest ironies any soccer fan can imagine ever happening to a player for diving. You coward. That said, Guzman’s simulation – and the subsequent sending off of the opponent’s best defender – may have helped his team to victory more than any other play on the field, including the long ball goal. Here’s guessing that the Portland front office and coaching staff will do the obligatory “I’m outraged at Guzman’s undeserved suspension!” thing, while secretly snickering and buying beers for Guzman for the remainder of the week. Ah, soccer.
Thought the replays showed that Jelly didn’t touch the Portland player on the second yellow. It looked like the Portland player deserved a yellow for diving.
Biggest story of the game for USNT fans may be 18-year old Marco Farfan going 90 minutes at left back in the shutout. Back in Portland, he is expected in class today. 🙂
He looked fine, but come on, Nat team talk? Let the kid try to win the starting job in Portland first, which he hasn’t yet.
Calm your outraged self.
Yes, I would say an 18-year old American, still in high school and going 90 on the road, is worthy of some “nat team talk”. Nobody is calling for Arena to cap him this month, so please don’t lose any sleep.
Although you can’t blame the loss strictly on the coaching due to injuries and the red card, Onalfo has done nothing to alleviate the fears that I had with his appointment. He continues to play Lletget on the right wing and only plays Boateng when forced to, while relying on McBean as a striker. McBean may become good in time, but he currently has a long way to go. At the start of the season I pointed out that while their starters were good, their back line was thin and this was shown again. They were foolish to trade De La Garza and cut loose Leonardo, although I was never a fan. So, now, with injuries they have been forced to play someone who recently played in college on the back line while also playing a midfielder there as well. They should get better, but it could be a long season.