CARSON, Calif. – Portland scored the only two goals in the game, but the reigning MLS Cup Champion Timbers tied the Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-1, on Sunday night at StubHub Center.
Fenando Adi scored his league-leading 4th goal of the season in the second half as the holders took a 1-0 lead scoring their sixth goal in two matches at StubHub Center.
Adi scored the game's first goal in the 52nd minute with a beautiful shot from the left side of the box that just slipped past keeper Brian Rowe and into the bottom right corner of the net. The goal was Adi's fourth against the Galaxy in as many matches.
"Sometimes as a striker you just need to take chances," Adi said of the goal. "I saw a little space and I knew I had to take it."
Thirty minutes later, Timbers defender, Nat Borchers, headed in a Sebastian Lletget cross into his own net, to give the Galaxy the game-tying goal.
"Before the game, I would have said I would be disappointed if we draw, but based on how the game went, I'm happy to get out of here with one point," Lletget said. "It was important for me to put the ball in the right area and see what happened."
The own-goal was disastrous and clearly avoidable as no other Galaxy player was in striking distance of the cross. Needless to say, Borchers was more red with embarrassment than his, infamous beard after the crucial mistake.
"Of course scoring an own goal is always disappointing as a defender," Borchers surmised. "You have to give credit to LA they put us under a tremendous amount of pressure in the second half. Ultimately, those are the kind of things that lead to mistakes like that."
The LA Galaxy pieced their team together as four of the team's everyday starters were out of the lineup. All-Star Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard, A.J. DeLaGarza and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy all missed the match with injuries.
"It's tough when players get hurt and you have to switch up a lot of things," forward Gyasi Zardes, who had to move up into Keane's role, said after the game. "Our coaches do an amazing job to get the team prepared."
To make matters worse, starting right back, Robbie Rogers was injured in the first five minutes of the game and did not return. He was replaced by Rafa Garcia and the team called his injury "hip related."
Garcia played alright, but his lack of play with the starting XI was evident as his hesitation on defense led to Adi's goal.
"I was happy to step onto the pitch and help in any way I could," said Garcia. "I was rusty for the first few minutes, but once the game settled down I felt good."
Los Angeles was not without their opportunities in the game as they outshot the Timbers 13-to-4, and dominated possession 60 percent of the time.
"Thank goodness they didn't have Robbie Keane tonight," joked Borchers.
Players of the Game:
Fenando Adi: MLS-leading 4th goal of the season.
1. The Return of Gio: The match marked the return of LA Galaxy forward, Giovani Dos Santos, who had not seen the pitch since the first half of the opening game on March 6th against D.C. United. Without Keane in the lineup, Dos Santos was given the responsibility of creating offence, but he was unable to deliver, and looked lost at times with his teammates.
2. Bitten by the Injury Bug: The L.A. Galaxy have been unhealthy all season, and things could take a turn for the worse if Robbie Rogers has to miss time, or Nigel de Jong is suspended. In total, the Galaxy could miss seven different starters next week against Houston.
3. Dagbe Goes Down: In a controversial play that is most certainly going to be looked at by the league, LA Galaxy defender, Nigel de Jong received a yellow card for a hard foul on Timbers midfielder, Darlington Nagbe. The USMNT team player writhed in pain on the pitch with an ankle injury and had to be removed from the field in a wheelchair.
Galaxy (2-1-2, 8 points): Los Angeles will head to Houston next week where they will face the Dynamo on Friday, April 15.
Timbers (1-2-2, 5 points): The Holders won't get much turnaround time as the Timbers host FC Dallas on Wednesday, April 13, in Portland.