Zlatan Ibrahimovic plays for the LA Galaxy - Photo by Brittany Campbell
Brittany Campbell

Galaxy lose more than points in Portland

The LA Galaxy will be missing three players when they travel next week. Plus, where are the draws? Can they find a way to stay in games?

The LA Galaxy would like to forget tonight ever happened. But unfortunately for them, their 4-0 road loss to the Portland Timbers will carry over into their road trip to Atlanta next week where three Galaxy players will be suspended.

In all, the loss should be categorized as the Galaxy failing to capitalize on numerous chances and then wholly losing their head in the final 20-minutes of the game.

And that’s disconcerting for a team that just beat the best team in MLS by dominating them for just about 90-minutes.

This isn’t a 4-0 nothing loss. But the Galaxy’s inability to compete in games like this shows one of their most significant weaknesses: that they have to sell-out on offense to try and make a comeback. And the Timbers made sure they’d pay dearly for it.

The first Portland goal, the result of a wonderfully timed cross from Jorge Moreira to Cristhian Paredes, caught Galaxy defender Dan Steres chasing the play. His late run to deny Paredes a goal wasn’t good enough. The ball ricocheted off Paredes’ pinned elbow and past Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham in the 37th-minute.

But that goal was the result of a Galaxy counter-attack that was squandered by Ibrahimovic on the other side fo the field.

And a similar event took place just three minutes later when another Ibrahimovic shot was stopped, and Portland rushed the Galaxy’s out-ofposition defense.

With Galaxy defender Rolf Feltscher and midfielder Julian Araujo caught forward on the scoring chance, and the Timbers’ Diego Valeri able to isolate Steres one-on-one inside the box, the goal came. And Valeri’s patience paid off as Steres saw the ball go between his legs and Valeri fired past Bingham for the second goal.

Galaxy Head Coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto told the FS1 crew at halftime he thought the Galaxy were the better team. And while they did well in possessing the ball, their half chances were usually handled by Timbers’ goalkeeper Steve Clark.

Clark would make a point-blank stop on midfielder Uriel Antuna in the 74th-minute that would have tied the game and ultimately led to the Galaxy’s demise.

Goals number three and four for Portland were a forgone conclusion after that. The Galaxy pressed into the attack to try and get back into the game, and the Timbers were more than ready to attack on the counter with numbers.

And in the 76th-minute Ibrahimovic would continue his unpleasant conversations with Referee Allen Chapman by basically screaming at him until he earned a yellow card. Thus ensuring that Ibrahimovic would not be available for the Galaxy’s next road trip to Atlanta (yellow card accumulation).

But the strangest play of the night was the red card to 17-year-old Efrain Alvarez. Alvarez was ejected from the game for violent conduct when the Timbers’ Marvin Loria was fouled from behind by Feltscher. Loria fell to the turf just as Alvarez struck the ball in his direction. The ball hit Loria just as he fell on the ground but before even a whistle could be blown.

Without hesitation, Chapman sent a stunned-looking Alvarez off the field.

But it would get worse for the Galaxy. And an altercation after the match would see Galaxy defender Diego Polenta sent off along with the Timbers’ Dairon Asprilla.

That leaves the Galaxy without Ibrahimovic, Alvarez, and Polenta for the long trek to play the defending MLS Cup Champions, Atlanta United next Saturday (August 3, 2 p.m. PT; FOX).

The Galaxy will need to have many answers when they play next week. Most importantly, why Jonathan dos Santos was at his quietest in this game, and how the Galaxy will generate offense without Ibrahimovic — who is scheduled to play in the All-Star game on Wednesday, July 31 (5 p.m. PT; FS1).

Their most significant flaws were once again exposed; they are impatient with the game, they risk too much to generate offense, and the midfield consistently leaves the defenders out to dry.

And with no ability to fight for draws at any point during the season — they have just one draw all season — the Galaxy will be an all or nothing team all the way into the playoffs.


Coming soon… maybe…