PORTLAND, OR (August 6, 2017) – The Portland Timbers got a big win at home on Sunday to stay in the hunt in the Western Conference. They beat the LA Galaxy 3-1 with an offense by committe and VAR disallowing a Galaxy goal.
Both teams had some lineup shifting to do. Jelle Van Damme and Bradley Diallo were suspended for this match for LA. Jonathan dos Santos was available on the bench though. Liam Ridgewell made a triumphant return to the lineup for Portland.
Portland Timbers Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Jake Gleeson — Eric Miller, Liam Ridgewell, Larrys Mabialia, Alvis Powell — David Guzman, Diego Chara — Sebastian Blanco, Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe, Fanendo Adi
LA Galaxy Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Brian Rowe — Ashley Cole, Dave Romney, Daniel Steres, Pele van Anholt — Jermaine Jones, Joao Pedro — Gyasi Zardes, Giovani dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng — Jack McInerney
Timbers Beat Galaxy 3-1 As VAR Disallows Zardes Goal
The National TV match got off to a hot start early on. Just three minutes in Adi put the ball in the back of the net but was ruled off-sides. They continued to attack in waves and found the back of the net again five minutes in on a corner. Guzman sent a cross in that bounced in the box then Ridgewell headed it in.
The Galaxy responded almost immediately off the kick off. Joao Pedro sent a 40 yard pass through the defense. Boateng beat his mark and Gleeson to the ball and tapped it in to tie the match.
Los Angeles appeared to take the lead minutes later with Zardes cleaning up in front of goal for his first. This was the first match for both teams with the Video Assisted Referee (VAR) system in place. Drew Fischer decided to review the play. Upon review, it was ruled that McInerney fouled Ridgewell with a shove to the back prior to the cross that created the goal. Zardes also appeared to contact the ball with his hand in the process of scoring. It remained 1-1.
The two teams traded chances the rest of the half. Valeria and Adi were the danger men for the Timbers while Boateng led the attack for the Galaxy. Portland found a second goal in the 33rd minute on a golazo from Diego Valeri from distance.
Just before halftime there were shouts for a PK and a VAR review when Romney and Adi went down in the box together. Nothing was called and Fischer was well positioned to make the call. The half ended 2-1 with Powell, Zardes, and Pedro on yellow cards.
The Timbers picked up where they left off in the second half. They dominated control and chance creation and it paid off in the 53rd minute. Adi got the ball with speed in the final third. He dribbled in towards goal, then backheeled it to an open Eric Miller who blasted one past Rowe and inside the far post to make it 3-1.
New DP signing Jonathan dos Santos subbed into the game after that, signaling a shift on the field. Portland played more conservative, giving the Galaxy more of the ball to break them down. The Galaxy offense was inert in the later stages of the match. It ended 3-1.
5′ Portland – Liam Ridgewell, assisted by David Guzman
6′ Los Angeles – Emmanuel Boateng, assisted by Joao Pedro
33′ Portland – Diego Valeri, assisted by Roy Miller
53′ Portland – Alvas Powell, assisted by Fanendo Adi and Sebastian Blanco
This is another major blow to the Galaxy’s playoff hopes. The defense was not as organized without Jelle Van Damme at the back. Giovani dos Santos continues to drift in and out of games and that has made the attack less intimidating. Jones was more disciplined and Jonathan dos Santos didn’t look bad in the 25 minutes and change he played. This team is still a work in progress and time is of the essence.
The Timbers got the performance they were looking for. Liam Ridgewell’s return was welcomed on both sides of the ball. Diego Valeri and Fenando Adi did their thing. If they can build this, they’ll be a contender in the west.
It was interesting to see VAR in play for the first time in MLS this week. They rightfully reviewed and reversed the Zardes goal. The officials did it in a reasonable amount of time. They could have reviewed the Adi PK no call in the first half. While imperfect, officiating in MLS has been improved with VAR.