Portland carries fight to LA, only to lose its fourth straight
April 14, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
Another lead, another loss.
After staking themselves to a 1-0 lead, the Portland Timbers gave up three unanswered goals from the biggest names in Major League Soccer and fell 3-1 to the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center Saturday.
Landon Donovan scored his first goal of the season, Juninho scored the game winner in the 83rd minute and David Beckham added an insurance goal in extra time for the Galaxy, which avoided a three-game losing streak.
The goals overcame a goal from Kris Boyd in the 23rd minute, which gave the Timbers a 1-0 lead.
Portland has led in its last three games, and lost all three.
The Timbers scored first against Chivas USA only to lose 2-1 last week, a week after scoring twice in the second half for a 2-1 lead against Real Salt Lake, which scored twice in the final five minutes for a 3-2 win.
The loss was Portland's fourth straight, its longest streak since joining Major League Soccer last year.
Portland fell to 1-4-1, 3 points heading into a home match with Sporting Kansas City, which improved to 6-0-0 with a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake in a battle of conference leaders.
Saturday's game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Jeld-Wen Field.
Portland, with a revamped line-up, controlled much of the first half with short passes and attacked through the middle of the field. Boyd took advantage on by narrowly avoiding an offsides call to score his third goal of the season from 10 yards under LA goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Boyd challenged the Galaxy throughout the match before being replaced by Perlaza in the 79th minute. After his goal, though, he struggled with being onside numerous times, including one that negated a goal and a 2-0 lead.
Portland had LA's line-up of international stars bottled up until the 44th minute, when Robbie Keane freed himself of defender Eric Brunner, who slipped and fell, and fed Donovan with a perfect pass that he powered past Portland keeper Troy Perkins to tie the game heading into halftime.
LA controlled much of the second half and finally took the lead when Juninho overpowered a Portland defender for a loose ball just outside the visitors' penalty box and fired a rocket from 25 yards out under Perkins.
Beckham took advantage of Portland's defense being significantly out of spacing and fired a shot above a diving Perkins, just under the crossbar for his first goal of the season.
LA, the defending league champion, improved to 2-3-0, 6 points.
Despite a solid performance from the Timbers, the outcome reflected the statistics of the match. LA outshot Portland 17-8, with 11 of the shots on goal. LA also held a 9-4 edge in corner kicks and controlled possesion 53 percent of the match.
The Galaxy scored its final two goals after Portland coach John Spencer had replaced midfielder Jack Jewsbury in the 74th minute with defender Lovel Palmer, and Boyd with striker Jorge Perlaza, who has yet to score this season, in the 81st minute.
Sporting KC will enter Jeld-Wen having outscored opponents 9-1.