Defensive mistakes doom Timbers, lose 2-1 to Galaxy

The Portland Timbers opened their 2018 campaign with disappointment as they fell on the road to the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1. Portland was unable to keep up with the speed and energy from by LA in the first half, conceding two goals before the halftime whistle. The Timbers found their footing in the second half and threatened a comeback but were unable to find an equalizer.

Galaxy scored their first goal in the 32nd minute as Portland failed to clear the ball from their end and allowed Rolf Feltscher to put a header back across the goal. Larrys Mabiala lost Ola Kamara in front of goal and Liam Ridgewell was caught in no-man’s land, allowing Kamara to head the ball into the back of the net.

The second goal for LA came two minutes later as again Mabiala and Ridgewell found themselves beat, first by Kamara into the box and then by Romain Alessandrini to a 50-50 ball that allowed him to score. Again Timbers failed to clear the first stop of the ball and let Galaxy get a second chance. No one sealed off Alessandrini, allowing him to take the ball away from Ridgewell, take a shot which hit the post, and still get the rebound for the second goal.

Throughout the match the Portland defenders seemed a step slow, struggling to react to Galaxy attackers. The first goal for Los Angeles comes initially from Emmanuel Boateng catching Alvas Powell on his heels and running past him into the box. While the Timbers were able to clear the first ball into the box, they don’t clear their lines. This then allows the Galaxy to put in another cross and eventually find an unmarked Kamara for the opener.

Portland would pull a goal back as they began to find chances in the second half thanks to a great individual effort of Sebastian Blanco. While fortunate to have the ball fall to his feet, Blanco made a great run to the near post and an even better finish past keeper David Bingham.

For all of their chances and shots on goal, 7, Portland was rarely able to trouble Bingham in the match. The best save he was asked to make was off of a free kick from David Guzman. While Guzman hit it with an impressive force, it was directly at Bingham who punched it away from danger.

Portland will be looking to be more dangerous next week as they travel to Red Bull Arena to face the New York Red Bulls in their second of five straight road games to open the season.

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