Galaxy extends win streak to 3 by knocking off Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. -— Cristian Pavon scored his fifth goal of the season and the L.A. Galaxy defeated the Portland Timbers 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Efrain Alvarez and Joe Corona also scored for the Galaxy, who have won three straight.

Portland’s Diego Valeri scored in stoppage time, becoming only the third player in MLS history to reach 80 career goals and 80 assists.

The Galaxy were knocked out of this summer’s MLS is Back tournament in the group stage, but beat both LAFC and San Jose after the league returned to play in local markets.

After winning the MLS is Back tournament title, the Timbers lost to rival Seattle then played to a 4-4 draw to Real Salt Lake last weekend.

Because of the condensed schedule, the Timbers had their regular starters on the bench.

That paved the way for goalkeeper Jeff Attinella to make his first start since shoulder surgery last year.

The Galaxy went ahead in the 15th minute when 18-year-old Alvarez scored his first MLS goal in his first start of the season. Pavon added his goal in the 50th.

Felipe Mora closed the gap for the Timbers with a goal in the 67th minute, but Corona answered for the Galaxy less than five minute later.

Jeremy Ebobisse appeared to score for Portland on a header in the 80th minute, but it was flagged as offside and video review did not overturn the close call.

Valeri scored his 80th career goal as Portland scrambled to overcome the deficit. Valeri also has 83 assists. The only two other MLS players to reach the 80-80 mark are Landon Donovan and Jaime Moreno.

The Timbers won the last meeting between the teams 2-1 at the MLS is Back tournament.

The Galaxy were still without Javier Hernandez, better known as Chicharito, who has been out since mid-July because of a calf injury. Coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said this week he believes Chicharito will return soon.

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The Galaxy forced to settle for a disappointing draw for second consecutive week

CARSON — Last week, the Galaxy failed to hold on to a two-goal lead and settled for a draw when three points would have been the perfect ending.

The situation looked similar Wednesday night against D.C. United, and unfortunately for the Galaxy, it was the same conclusion — another disappointing draw.

The Galaxy (6-7-4) scored the first two goals of the night, then watched as D.C. United’s Darren Mattocks later scored the equalizer in the 85th minute, forcing the Galaxy into a 2-2 draw in front of a sellout crowd of 24,462 at the StubHub Center.

“The last two draws feel like losses,” Galaxy midfielder Chris Pontius said.

Both disappointing results, last week against San Jose, and Wednesday have come against teams at the bottom of their respective divisions. D.C. United entered Wednesday with 10 points this season and a 1-7-3 mark on the road.

“We need to be better,” Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said. “We need to work harder. We weren’t good enough in the second half and just like last week, we gave up a goal that allowed them to resuscitate their lives.”

This was the first home game for the Galaxy since June 9.

For the second consecutive week, Zlatan Ibrahimovic got the Galaxy on the board early. In the fifth minute, he got on the end of a cross from Dave Romney, outmuscled his defender and easily beat D.C. United goalkeeper David Ousted.

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Ibrahimovic scored the first of his two goals in the opening minute of the game last week against San Jose. He now has 10 goals in 13 games.

Pontius increased the Galaxy’s lead to 2-0 with his goal in the 25th minute.

Although D.C. United is the worst team in the league, the early deficit didn’t deter its effort. Zoltan Stieber cut the Galaxy’s lead in half with his goal in the 26th minute.

The Galaxy had numerous chances to find some breathing room in the second half. Ola Kamara came on as a sub and appeared to score twice, but both attempts were disallowed for an offside.

In the 31st minute, the Galaxy had another goal disallowed. Chris Pontius scored the goal, but referee Silviu Petrescu incorrectly blew the whistle, which also took away the chance for the goal to be reviewed by the Video Assistant Referee.

Ibrahimovic had several opportunities, but wasn’t able to deliver the much-needed goal.

“I think we’re making the same basic mistakes,” Ibrahimovic said. “We’re getting punished for the mistakes. The opponents are taking use (control) of our mistakes. It is a shame because we should win this game and if you win a game 2-0 or 3-1, like the last game you should be in control, but we’re not in control.”

However, with each failed attempt, that seemed to give D.C. United some hope and life, leading to Mattocks’ goal as he dribbled through the defense and fired over an outstretched arm of Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham.

“Every time, it seems to be something different,” Schmid said. “The second goal came from us reacting and zoning too much.

“We have to better defensively … right now, I’m not happy with the defensive effort.”

The Galaxy will try to right what has been ailing them, Saturday when Columbus Crew SC visits.

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Wondolowski caps Quakes’ rally for 3-3 draw with Galaxy

STANFORD, Calif.  — Chris Wondolowski scored twice and the San Jose Earthquakes overcame a two-goal deficit to tie the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-3 on Saturday night in the second California Clasico of the season.

Wondolowski tied it on a penalty kick in the 69th minute. Danny Hoesen drew the penalty with a foul in the area against Michael Ciani. Wondolowski has 140 goals, five behind Landon Donovan’s MLS record.

Valeri Qazaishvili pulled the Earthquakes to 3-2 in the 39th minute with a right-footed shot from the top of the penalty arc.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring for the Galaxy just before the end of the first minute with a one-time volley of Chris Pontius’ header. Ibrahimovic made it 3-1 in the 25th minute with a free kick under the wall.

Wondolowski tied it at 1 in the 15th minute on a putback off his saved penalty attempt. Magnus Eriksson drew the foul against Bradford Jamieson in the area.

Romain Alessandrini made it 2-1 for the Galaxy in the 20th minute with a free kick from just outside the right side of the penalty area.

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LA Galaxy open the new MLS season with a win over the Portland Timbers

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Ola Kamara celebrates his goal during the first half of a Major League Soccer game against the Portland Timbers, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Galaxy forward Ola Kamara celebrates his goal during the first half of a Major League Soccer game against the Portland Timbers, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell, top, tries to head the ball along with Los Angeles Galaxy forward Ola Kamara during the first half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell, top, tries to head the ball along with Los Angeles Galaxy forward Ola Kamara during the first half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Portland Timbers defender Alvas Powell, top, tries to head the ball as Los Angeles Galaxy defender Ashley Cole ducks during the first half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Portland Timbers defender Alvas Powell, top, tries to head the ball as Los Angeles Galaxy defender Ashley Cole ducks during the first half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, left, makes a save against the head of defender Michael Ciani during the second half of a Major League Soccer game against the Portland Timbers, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, left, makes a save against the head of defender Michael Ciani during the second half of a Major League Soccer game against the Portland Timbers, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Ola Kamara, center, celebrates his goal as Portland Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala, left, and goalkeeper Jake Gleeson lie on the ground during the first half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Galaxy forward Ola Kamara, center, celebrates his goal as Portland Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala, left, and goalkeeper Jake Gleeson lie on the ground during the first half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco kicks the ball during the second half of a Major League Soccer game against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco kicks the ball during the second half of a Major League Soccer game against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Portland Timbers defender Marco Farfan, left, and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Chris Pontius try to head the ball during the second half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Portland Timbers defender Marco Farfan, left, and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Chris Pontius try to head the ball during the second half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, left, makes a save on a kick by Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget, lower right, as goalkeeper Jeff Attinella helps defend during the second half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, left, makes a save on a kick by Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget, lower right, as goalkeeper Jeff Attinella helps defend during the second half of a Major League Soccer game, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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CARSON >> One game in and the 2018 Galaxy season is already off to a better start than last year.

Last season, the Galaxy struggled to do anything at home except fail to come away wins, posting a 3-9-5 record.

Sunday, in its first chance to start the redemption process for last year’s dismal performance, the Galaxy thanks to a pair of first-half goals, the Galaxy broke the seal on the 2018 season with a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers at StubHub Center in front of 25,462.

“I was happy with our team effort and our willingness to battle for each and play for each other, I thought was outstanding,” Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid.

Newly acquired Ola Kamara got things started for the Galaxy when he was able to fight defenders and chest in a ball that was headed toward goal by Rolf Feltscher.

“It was a fantastic feeling,” Kamara said of his goal. “It was a big build-up to this game and we needed the three points to show that here it is very difficult to beat us. I think we proved a statement and three points was very important.

“We had 5-6-7 big chances, so we could gone up maybe 3,4-0. I think we have to work on keeping the possession, but getting the first three points was a major key in this game for us.”

Two minutes later, Romain Alessandrini found himself in front of goal with a defender draped on him. His first attempt with his left foot hit the post and rolled back to him and he was able to slot the ball by Portland keeper Jake Gleeson with his right foot.

The Galaxy opened the second half with numerous chances to put the game away, but failed to convert.

Portland finally got on the board in the 65th minute with Sebastian Blanco beating David Bingham through the legs to cut the Galaxy’s lead in half.

“We played well in the first half, second half, a little bit sloppy, but again we fought and came away with the win,” defender and captain Ashley Cole said. “We’re not going to get too  carried away with a win, first game of the season, but three points on the board.”

That’s where it would stay as both teams tried desperately for the next the goal.

The 85th minute, the Timbers had a free kick atop the 18-yard box. David Guzman’s hit was push away and out by Bingham.

Later, the Galaxy thought it had Kamara free on a breakaway, but the fourth official ruled that he was offside and in the 89th minute, Sebastian Lletget appeared to have been pulled down in the box, but the Galaxy’s shouts for a penalty went ignored from the officials.

The game wasn’t all fun for the Galaxy. In the 61st minute, Alessandrini went down with an apparent hamstring injury and had to be subbed off for Chris Pontius.

Schmid said it was too early for an official diagnosis.

“I know it was sometimes a little perilous in the back,” Schmid said. “But that doesn’t matter to me, we also had enough opportunities on the other end to score four or five. It is still about finishing those chances and making good use of them.”

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