The LA Galaxy claimed their first win in six meetings with the Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer on Saturday.
Diego Valeri’s opener was cancelled out by Gyasi Zardes, before a Robbie Keane brace sealed a 3-1 victory and completed a Cascadia double for the week.
Having stunned Seattle Sounders FC in the Emerald City on Monday night, the Galaxy quickly set about dismantling the Rave Green’s rivals. Two of the stars in that triumphant night had early efforts, but both Landon Donovan’s sidefoot and Marcelo Sarvas’ low effort were too close to Donovan Ricketts.
With an unblemished score-sheet intact, Portland mounted their first attack and broke the deadlock. Valeri had already beaten Jaime Penedo twice this season, and a third was forthcoming in the 14th minute, when he whipped a free-kick into the top corner, via a minor deflection off the wall.
Zardes will face opposition from the Rose City again in Chipotle’s Homegrown clash this week, and he came close with a series of assaults on Ricketts’ goal. First shooting straight at the Jamaican, he then crashed a header against the cross-bar and directed a follow-up attempt over.
Despite their lead, the Timbers were coming under intense pressure, and were grateful to their goalkeeper for another save – this time diving to his right after Keane’s shot. Matching his strike partner, the Irishman had two further chances, but turned over and prodded at Ricketts.
Finally though, in the third minute of first-half stoppage-time, the 37-year-old was beaten. Robbie Rogers was able to cross from the left, and Zardes charged onto the delivery, finding the net and relieving the home crowd.
The goal required Portland to return to an offensive stance after the interval and they duly did, with substitute Kalif Alhassan blazing wide. The Ghanaian could have had a penalty when he appeared to be tripped by Rogers, but referee Kevin Stott was unmoved, and it was Los Angeles’ turn to capitalise.
Trademark goal & celebration
Donovan hit the by-line and managed to squeeze a centre across, where Keane twisted his body to nod inside the post – celebrating in trademark style.
The Timbers had never previously won at the StubHub Center, and it was becoming abundantly clear that this wasn’t to be their day either. Though they luckily escaped when Ricketts held Keane’s acrobatic volley, the result was soon put beyond any doubt.
Juninho was hacked down by Diego Chara just inside the area, leaving Stott little choice but to point to the penalty spot. Keane stepped up, and confidently passed in his 12th goal of the year and a first successful penalty conversion since last August.
Supporters’ Shield charge
That proved to be the final action of the match, and Bruce Arena’s men continue their charge towards the summit of the Supporters’ Shield standings.