It’s the LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers in a matchup of Western Conference rivals.
After a dominant performance this last Saturday, the LA Galaxy face the Portland Timbers this Wednesday evening at the Stub Hub Center. The two teams are in the middle of a hectic stretch of their schedules; for the LA Galaxy this will be their fourth game in eleven days while the Timbers are playing their third in just over a week. The two teams played to a draw earlier this season with Alan Gordon scoring the second half equalizer.
The Galaxy have experienced an offensive surge with the return of Robbie Keane from injury and Gyasi Zardes from national duty, while Baggio Husidic has provided consistency and Sebastian Lletget has had early success to begin his stay in LA. Doubters may credit the team’s explosion of goals – 11 in the last two games – to the level of competition they have faced but there is no denying Bruce Arena‘s team is headed in the direction most followers expected of the 2014 MLS champions.
Caleb Porter’s Timbers should prove a solid test for just how real this apparent cohesion truly is. Portland (7-5-4) comes into the game tied with LA (6-5-7) on points, each team having earned 25. The visitors do have two games in hand on the home team and is ahead of the locals based on goal differential. The Timbers are on a five-game winning streak that includes victories over leaders from both conferences in Seattle, New England, and D.C.
The two teams appear to be evenly matched statistically. The Galaxy do have more goals scored on the season but they have also played two more games. Even with the fewer games played, the Timbers are an aggressive team on offense with more shots and shots-on-goal than LA.
Keys for the LA Galaxy
The offense must continue to produce. Zardes needs to be making runs with Keane backing him up or feeding the ball into him.
The midfield needs to remain active both offensively and defensively. They need to create opportunities for goals while also being ready to prevent the counter attack that will be spurred by Rodney Wallace and Darlington Nagbe.
The defense needs to maintain their consistent high level of play. Robbie Rogers has been more involved in making runs into the final third over the last two games and it is no coincidence that the team has had its best success in that time. The back four should also expect to have to contain an aggressive Portland offense.
8PM, Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes