Galaxy knocks off Real Salt Lake to remain in chase for playoff spot

CARSON >> The Galaxy’s playoff chances are still alive thanks to Sunday’s complete effort against Real Salt Lake.

It had been a difficult week with the firing of coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and staff, Thursday. Assistant coach Dominic Kinnear was installed as interim coach for the second time in the last three years.

Whatever Kinnear told them, it worked as the Galaxy looked balanced and compact from the outset of the game.

Giancarlo Gonzalez (18th minute) and Cristian Pavon (65th) provided the goals and the team dug in their heels on defense and recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win over RSL.

“I’m really happy for the win, really happy for the guys,” Kinnear said. It keeps the playoff hopes alive. I thought the first 45 minutes we were very good, created some very good chances, kept our shape really well, limited their looks.

“Obviously in the 2nd half we were a little bit sloppy with the ball in some bad areas, getting caught forward at times when we should be a little bit more alert to when the ball is turning, over especially on the goal for them. Then you have to give Salt Lake credit, they were throwing a lot of numbers forward. We looked a little tired, I’ll be honest with you on that, they were kind of hanging on a little on there at the end ….So first 45 (minutes), I give a complete thumbs up to everything we spoke about and the second 45, I just give them a thumbs up for absolute heart and courage, so congratulations to them.”

With MLS using points per game to decide the playoff positioning due to some teams, including the Galaxy, not being able to reach the complete 23-game regular season, the win moves the Galaxy points per game average to 1.05, leaving the club in fourth place in a four-team race for the final two remaining playoff spots in the Western Conference.

The Galaxy had the perfect first half to erase its porous performance from last Wednesday’s game against the Portland Timbers. In that game, the Galaxy allowed three goals in the first 30 minutes on its way to a 5-2 loss.

Gonzalez opened the scoring rising for a header off a free kick in the 18th minute. For the remainder of the first half, the Galaxy, from man-to-man, went about their job doing the extra work, something that has been missing for long stretches this season.

In the 51st minute, Gonzalez, again came up with a big moment, racing back to clear a shot by Corey Baird off of the line.

With the game sitting at 1-0, Pavon worked some of his magic, beating three RSL defenders and sliding a perfectly placed ball by a goalkeeper Andrew Putna for a 2-0 lead.

“Well, I think everyone is mentally disappointed at what happened with the coaching change,” Kinnear said. “I think any time that happens, you have to have a feel for the situation and your involvement in it. So like I’ve said before, Guillermo (Barros Schelotto) is I think a very good coach and I think a very good person, so any time that happens to anybody you spend a lot of time with there is a touch of sadness, especially when you have a little bit of responsibility, we all do, with what’s happened in the situation for the Galaxy this year.

“I thought the first little bit of the game, I thought we looked good for a goal we were getting to the byline a couple of times and looking menacing. So I think when that (Giancarlo Gonzalez) goal went in, it gave the guys a complete lift, you know even at halftime it gives them something to hold onto and to protect.”

The Galaxy will return to action Wednesday at home against the Seattle Sounders and then conclude the regular season Sunday in Portland against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

“What we want the next three games is what we saw tonight, give our all, try to win them all because we know we have a good team with good players,” Gonzalez said. “We have to give it our best shot to prove to ourselves that we can compete with honor and pride.”

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LAFC defeats Houston to clinch MLS playoff berth

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Football Club is spending the final games of the regular season focused on fine-tuning its game for the upcoming MLS playoffs, but the club is not yet playing like the contender Coach Bob Bradley expects his team to be.

Thanks to a pair of first-half goals, LAFC (9-7-4, 31 points) held off the visiting Houston Dynamo for a 2-1 win on Wednesday night at Banc of California Stadium and clinched a postseason berth.

With the win, Bradley moves into third place in MLS history with 170 career wins, trailing Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid.

The win was the second in a row for LAFC and the fourth in its past six games, but Bradley felt it wasn’t the best performance.

“It’s always good to take three points, but I didn’t believe we played well,” he said. “The second half, not just the second half, I don’t think we played well. We scored goals early. We were very careless, casual.

“We spoke about it at halftime. Started the second half and immediately allowed Houston right back into the game. Not enough guys really taking responsibility, being sharp enough. So tonight has got to be a game that we look at as a lesson. We’ve got two regular-season games left, and we’ve got to be harder on each other. We’ve got to raise the bar a little bit.”

Diego Rossi opened the scoring in the ninth minute, assisted by Mohameed El-Munir.

In the 22nd minute, Eddie Segura had the ball roll to his right foot just outside the 6-yard box, and he fired it into the net to give LAFC a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.

The game remained at 2-0 thanks to a penalty kick stop by goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer on Mauro Manotas.

After halftime, Houston broke through in the 46th minute on a goal by former L.A. Galaxy product Ari Lassiter.

Later, in the 59th minute, LAFC caught another break when Houston’s Matias Vera received his second yellow card and was sent off, leaving the Dynamo a man down for the remainder of the match.

LAFC nearly had a 3-1 lead in the 52nd minute, but Rossi was called offside after he finished the play with a simple tap-in.

Things eventually became a little too close for comfort for LAFC in the 86th minute when referee Ramy Touchan called a foul on Latif Blessing and pointed to the penalty spot. However, after taking a look at the video review, Touchan waived off the penalty, allowing LAFC to breathe a sigh of relief.

“We have high standards, and I don’t think a game like tonight is good enough in any way,” Bradley said. “Two regular-season matches left, you’ve really got to try to hit the playoffs with confidence, with sharpness and with a mentality that we’re a team that’s going to fight every game, play our football, compete, and try to move and get ourselves to a final and win an MLS Cup.

“So we were pretty critical after the game inside the locker room tonight because it’s a message that everyone has to understand.”

Despite the win, it wasn’t all good news for LAFC. The club announced at halftime that a player had tested positive for COVID-19. The testing was done Tuesday. All other players and members of the club underwent additional rapid testing before Wednesday’s game and returned negative tests.

Upon receiving the initial positive result, the player self-isolated and will remain in isolation and be monitored by the LAFC medical staff.

“Yes, we had a positive test,” Bradley said. “Our player was retested again today. We’ll wait for more information. Guys have done an excellent job throughout this whole thing, and so the club is doing all the right things, and hopefully we can move forward with that.”

LAFC next plays Sunday on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Lucky number 1⃣3⃣. #LAFCvHOU pic.twitter.com/jQeoYEFUn3

— LAFC (@LAFC) October 29, 2020

ANOTHER ONE!!!

🚫@kennethvermeer 🚫#LAFCvHOU 2-0 pic.twitter.com/UWVqaFJz9R

— LAFC (@LAFC) October 29, 2020

Offense, defense, @eddiesegura02 can do it all.

Replay presented by @Heineken_US. #LAFC pic.twitter.com/idsBJmcK1L

— LAFC (@LAFC) October 29, 2020

“Be sharp, train hard. When the team needs me I try to be there for them” @kennethvermeer after a clutch performance against Houston. #LAFC pic.twitter.com/vBD5qZEUpA

— LAFC (@LAFC) October 29, 2020

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Kai Koreniuk’s late goal snaps Galaxy’s six-game losing streak

CARSON — As frustrating as the six-game losing streak had been, Sunday’s effort almost fell in the same category until the 90th minute.

Just when it looked as though the Galaxy’s best collective effort in a month would go to waste, late sub Kai Koreniuk scored the lone goal of the game to lift the Galaxy (5-9-3, 18 points) to a much-needed 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at Dignity Health Sports Park.

“First of all, the goal was just awesome, it was really cool,” he said. “Really awesome to score, just absolute adrenaline rush to get that opportunity to get that goal.

“I did speak with (Galaxy coach) Guillermo (Barros Schelotto) about a week ago. I hadn’t been in the (gameday) lineup so I just wanted to ask him is there anything I can do or what can I do and he just said just be patient, keep working hard and your chance will come. … And here I am.”

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon (10) jumps in the air to attempt a goal shot against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann (33) makes a save against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Kai Koreniuk (28) reacts after scoring the wining goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) vies for the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy defender Emiliano Insua (3) goes after a lose ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy defender Perry Kitchen (2) headers the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Yony Gonzalez (11) vies for the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Kai Koreniuk (28) dribbles the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget (17) tries to recover the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Yony Gonzalez (11) vies for the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget (17) kicks the ball against against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon (10) moves the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps defender Jake Nerwinski (28) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Yony Gonzalez (11) dribbles the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps defender Ranko Veselinovic (4) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto looks on during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez (26) fights for the ball Vancouver Whitecaps defender Ali Adnan (53) during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) takes a goal shot against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez (26) looks for an open teammate against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy defender Julian Araujo (22) brings the ball down the pitch against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) brings the ball down the pitch against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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After several near-misses in the second half, Cristian Pavon’s cross found a streaking Koreniuk, who was making a near-post run. All he had to do was get it by Evan Bush and that’s what he did.

“Sometimes when a team need to win, sometimes they change and get nervous and then get disorganized,” Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto. “The team played well, we managed the ball and the game. We never could get the goal, but it appeared in the last minute and we deserved to win.”

It was Koreniuk’s first goal of his MLS career and just his second appearance. He’s played a total of four minutes. He entered the game in the 87th minute, replacing Sebastian Lletget.

Koreniuk, 22, was signed from LA Galaxy II in June. Last year, he was the LA Galaxy II Player of the Year.

“I’m just trying to be patient, just waiting for my chance,” he said of his season so far. “Working hard in training and then whenever I do get an opportunity like this, try to pounce on it. There’s not really much I can do just be patient and try to be a like a spark plug for the team when I come on.”

As the losses mounted in recent weeks, the seat upon which coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto sat got warmer and warmer. He’s in the second year of a three-year contract. Last year’s team, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the playoffs. This year, things haven’t gone smoothly at all.

During the losing streak, the Galaxy often appeared overmatched, but things looked different in the first half Sunday as it came out compact on defense, kept its shape and one with a plan going forward, two areas the team looked incapable of doing in previous games.

The first substitution was made by the Galaxy with Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez coming on in the 50th minute to replace Yony Gonzalez.

Gonzalez showed signs of being a dangerous threat in the first half, working his way into good positions, but was taken down by the Vancouver defense several times and it took a physical toll that left him limping off the field.

In the second half, the Galaxy had its moments, but couldn’t capitalize and seemed almost certain to walk off the field with a scoreless draw.

Chicharito had at least three point-blank chances to add to his one-goal total on the season, but he had one shot blocked by a Vancouver defender, another he sent into the empty stands and the third he wasn’t able to steer it on goal.

“He (Chicharito) started on the bench because I decided to play with only one striker and I decided on Yony Gonzalez,” Schelotto said. “It was important for the team to win, and maybe he will feel a little less pressure because everyone was talking about him and I think this will be very good for him to get confidence and to be calm.”

The Galaxy hadn’t won since Sept. 6, the final victory in a four-game winning streak. The club followed that with a scoreless draw against San Jose and it had been all losses since then.

This was the second meeting between the teams. Vancouver defeated the Galaxy 1-0 all the way back on March 7, the Galaxy’s home opener.

The Galaxy will return to action Sunday, Oct. 25 at LAFC.

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Galaxy continues downward spiral with a sixth consecutive loss

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon (10) tries to recover the ball against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy defender Emiliano Insua (3) vies for a header against San Jose Earthquakes forward Cristian Espinoza (10) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan (16) headers the ball against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Yony Gonzalez (11) vies for a header against San Jose Earthquakes defender Tanner Beason (15) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Yony Gonzalez (11) looks for an open teammate against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon (10) brings the ball up the pitch against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) maneuvers the ball around San Jose Earthquakes defender Tanner Beason (15) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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CARSON — If last week’s loss to Portland was considered a low point by coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, then the Galaxy slipped even further Wednesday.

The Galaxy again turned in a listless performance at Dignity Health Sports Park and was played off the field by its Northern California rival as the San Jose Earthquakes won 4-0.

The loss was the sixth consecutive for the Galaxy (4-9-3), a team that is mired in last place, stuck on 15 points, in the Western Conference. The six-game losing streak is the longest for the Galaxy since 2007.

San Jose was in the Galaxy’s shoes just last month, but with the win, its fourth in the last five games, the Earthquakes (6-7-5, 23 points) have moved above the playoff line and into sixth place.

The questions facing the Galaxy front office after this performance is whether this group, with Schelotto in charge, can mount a late-season charge to save the season or is it time to make an in-season coaching change?

The Galaxy has six games remaining in the regular season, with a potential seventh, a makeup game with Colorado that has yet to be rescheduled.

The Galaxy’s troubles began early Wednesday as the Earthquakes took control of the game by creating chances and threatening the backline. In the 44th minute, their work paid off as Nick Lima opened the scoring as he found himself open after taking a pass from Andres Rios.

The Galaxy was lucky to be trailing only 1-0 at halftime. In the second half, things went from bad to worse.

San Jose went up 2-0 on a goal by Rios in the 52nd minute, and that was followed by Tommy Thompson with a top class strike from a tight angle from the right side of the goal.

Lima capped the night’s scoring with a shot from distance in the third minute of extra time.

The Galaxy managed just three shots on goal, and to complicate matters Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was subbed off in the 54th minute.

Jonathan Klinsmann got the start in goal for the Galaxy, replacing David Bingham. Since he joined the Galaxy in 2018, Bingham has started all but two games.

 

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San Jose wins 2nd straight, beats LA Galaxy

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Andy Ríos scored on a penalty kick in the 82nd minute and the San Jose Earthquakes beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 on Saturday night.

The Earthquakes (4-6-5) have won two straight, both against Los Angeles teams. The Galaxy (4-7-3) have lost their last four.

Sebastian Lletget scored his sixth goal of the season to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead four minutes in when he punched in a short rebound that was ricocheted off the post on a shot by Javier “Chicahrito” Hernández.

Twenty-year-old Marcos Lopez tied it at the 42nd minute mark with his first MLS goal, scoring on an uncontested shot from about 12 yards out.

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Yuelli, San Jose shock LAFC in late match victory

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jackson Yueill’s tap-in goal in extra time lifted San Jose to a 2-1 comeback win over LAFC on Sunday night. Christian Espinoza set up Yueill’s goal, weaving through defenders to the left of the goal for a perfect center to Yueill in the 93rd minute. San Jose (3-6-5) knotted it in the 80th minute when Shea Salinas stopped his run driving to the left, crossed over to the right and sent a blast past the keeper. Mark-Anthony Kaye scored his third goal of the season at the 45th minute to put LAFC (5-6-3) on top. The loss prevented LAFC from rising to third place in the Western Conference.

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LA Galaxy unbeaten in 6 games, tie Earthquakes 0-0

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — David Bingham made two saves to help the LA Galaxy to a scoreless draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.

The Galaxy (4-3-3) stretched their unbeaten streak to six but had their four-match win streak snapped. Los Angeles has outscored opponents 11-4 during the stretch.

San Jose (2-4-4) hasn’t won since returning from the MLS is Back tournament, losing three of five matches, including a 7-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Thursday night.

Andy Rios’ goal in the 89th minute for San Jose was called back due to offsides. Jackson Yueill had a clear shot in the 34th from inside the 18-yard box, but Bingham deflected the ball away. Guram Kashia had the Earthquakes’ only other shot on target.

Daniel Vega made two saves for the Earthquakes. Vega stopped Sebastian Lletget’s near-post header from the center of the 6-yard box. Lletget scored twice in the Galaxy’s 3-0 over Los Angeles FC on Sept. 6.

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LAFC snaps out of two-game losing skid with win over Portland

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Brian Rodriguez #17 fights for the ball against Portland Timbers defender Jorge Villafana #4 during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Danny Musovski #16 battles Portland Timbers midfielder Eryk Williamson #30 during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Los Angeles FC forward Danny Musovski #16 reacts after scoring a goal against the Portland Timbers during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Danny Musovski #16 reacts after scoring a goal against the Portland Timbers during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi #9] brings the ball up the field against Portland Timbers midfielder Eryk Williamson #30 during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC defender Eddie Segura #4 brings the ball up the field against Portland Timbers forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda #11 during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC defender Andy Najar #24 moves the ball up the pitch during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Bradley Wright-Phillips #66, Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri #8, Los Angeles FC defender Diego Palacios #12 and teammate midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye #14 take a knee before the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Brian Rodriguez #17 takes on Portland Timbers defender Pablo Bonilla #28 and midfielder Eryk Williamson #30 during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega #23 makes a save against the Portland Timbers during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Bradley Wright-Phillips #66 goes up for a header against Portland Timbers defender Dario Zuparic #13 during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese # looks on during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Danny Musovski #16 makes a goal against the Portland Timbers during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC head coach Bob Bradley looks on during the second half of a Major League Soccer match against the Portland Timbers at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. Los Angeles FC defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC defender Diego Palacios #12 headers the ball against a Portland Timbers defender during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Latif Blessing #7 fights for header against Portland Timbers midfielder Marvin Loria #44 during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Bradley Wright-Phillips #66 takes a shot on goal against the Portland Timbers during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Jose Cifuentes #11 look for an open teammate against Portland Timbers midfielder Marvin Loria #44 during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi #9 gets tangled up with Portland Timbers defender Julio Cascante #18 during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye #14 vie for the ball against Portland Timbers midfielder Marvin Loria #44 during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye #14 gives a thumbs up to his bench after scoring a goal against the Portland Timbers during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Francisco Ginella #8 battles against a Portland Timbers defender during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday September 13, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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After a wild first half that saw five goals scored in 20 minutes, the Los Angeles Football Club had to buckle down against the Portland Timbers in the second.

That’s just what it did and finally after Danny Musovski’s goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time, LAFC (4-4-3, 15 points) was able to exhale and celebrate a 4-2 victory at Banc of California Stadium.

The win snapped a two-game losing skid that saw LAFC get shut out in both games (Galaxy and Real Salt Lake).

The win moves LAFC into a tie fourth place in the Western Conference with the Galaxy.

“First and foremost, I’m really happy for the players,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “When you go through a little bit of adversary, you have to find ways to play out of it. In the first 20-25 minutes, you can see the tempo of the passing pick up balls moving quickly, the right number of touches.

“I liked the fact that at halftime we regrouped quickly. And then in the second half we didn’t give up a goal. That’s important for us as we continue to try to just regain confidence. And then we finished it off with a good goal at the end.”

It was a crazy first half that saw LAFC go into halftime with a 3-2 lead.

After falling behind in the 20th minute, LAFC scored three consecutive goals from Mark-Anthony Kaye (37th minute), Diego Rossi (41st) and Bradley Wright-Phillips in the first minute of stoppage time for what appeared to be a safe 3-1 lead.

In the final minute of stoppage time, Portland got a goal back as Jeremy Ebobisse scored on a header that was perfectly placed over the outstretched arm of LAFC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega to make it 3-2.

That’s where the game remained until Musovski scored to put the game away.

“I mean, I think Bob (Bradley) said it. We just need to play through it,” Musovski said. “That’s the only thing we can do. We were in a bit of a rough stretch and we just want to bounce back. The only way you can do that is game-by-game. So that’s the only thing we can do and I think we did a good job of that today.”

Eduard Atuesta entered the game as a sub in the 80th minute. It was first action since July 23. He had been sidelined due to a knee injury suffered in the MLS is Back Tournament, when the teams played to a 2-2 draw.

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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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Jordan Morris scores twice, Sounders return home and top LAFC

SEATTLE (AP) — Jordan Morris scored two goals less than a minute apart early in the second half, and Seattle rolled past Los Angeles FC 3-1 on Sunday night in the Sounders first home match in 5½ months.

Playing in an eerily empty CenturyLink Field, Morris scored 59 seconds apart in the opening moments of the second half as Seattle gained a bit of revenge after LAFC’s 4-1 thumping of the Sounders during the MLS is Back tournament in Florida.

In the past, two goals that close together would have sent Seattle’s home crowd into a frenzy. But it was instead met with a murmur of piped-in crowd noise as the stadium is expected to remain empty for the rest of the MLS season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think everyone is obviously missing the fans. but it was still nice to be back playing at home,” Morris said. “We’ve obviously never played without fans before but we still feel like this is our home stadium and we feel very confident but of course we miss the fans and we feel their support from afar.”

It was a decidedly un-Seattle atmosphere for the Sounders’ first home match since March 7. Instead of the normal, with nearly 40,000 fans in attendance, some of the lower bowl seats were replaced by tarps with advertisements.

“The Brougham End,” where Seattle’s most rabid fans of the “Emerald City Supporters” normally stand and chant the entire 90 minutes, was replaced by a smattering of banners, including a large “Black Lives Matter,” banner directly behind the goal.

“It’s different without fans. But for what we had to work with, or what we’re dealing with with this COVID-19, I thought it was good. It was a good start,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said.

It was at that end of the stadium where Morris scored his two goals. On the first, Morris collected a long pass from Nicolas Lodeiro and dribbled around LAFC goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer, who was late coming out from goal. Morris finished easily into the open net.

Moments after restarting, Seattle’s João Paulo sent a cross into the box and Morris was unmarked, giving Seattle a 3-0 lead.

Raúl Ruidíaz scored in the first half with a stunning 35-yard left-footed shot that caught Vermeer by surprise and out of position. Ruidíaz was subbed off at halftime for precautionary reasons due to a heel contusion.

Diego Rossi scored in the 60th minute but LAFC lost consecutive matches for the first time since the 2018 season. It was the first match for LAFC since learning league MVP Carlos Vela is out indefinitely with a left knee injury.

“(It’s) a tough stretch for us and you can just see with so many guys confidence, mentality, and performance, things we’ve got to find a way to get back,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said.

Both teams had midweek matches postponed after players made a collective statement against racial injustice.

The Sounders last home match in early March came as the COVID-19 pandemic was in its initial outbreak in the United States and with the Seattle region as the epicenter. The Sounders played to a 1-1 draw with Columbus before an announced crowd of 33,080. It was the smallest crowd for a Sounders home match since its inaugural season of 2009.

At the time, there had been 16 deaths and 102 diagnosed coronavirus cases in Washington state. Now, there have been more than 74,000 confirmed cases and 1,900 deaths attributed to the virus in the state, according to the Washington Department of Health.

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