Match Recap: Portland Timbers 1, LA Galaxy 0
Maximiliano Urruti's 1st MLS goal the difference
Three Points: Set-piece defending dooms LA once again
Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to LA’s lackluster loss to the Timbers
Postgame Quotes: LA fall to the Timbers in rain-soaked game
Coach, players react to the loss in Portland
Set piece defending comes back to haunt LA
LA call for greater desire on D
LA Galaxy 0, Portland Timbers 1
Sunday, September 29, 2013
JELD-WEN Field – Portland, Ore.
POR – Maximiliano Urruti 1 (Will Johnson 4) 52’
LA – Marcelo Sarvas (Yellow Card) 35’
POR – Pa-Mondu Kah (Yellow Card) 74’
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Kofi Opare (Laurent Courtois 84’), Todd Dunivant; Hector Jimenez (Michael Stephens 60’), Juninho (Jose Villarreal 87’), Marcelo Sarvas, Gyasi Zardes; Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane©.
Subs Not Used: Brian Rowe, Tommy Meyer, Rafael Garcia, Pablo Mastroeni.
Portland Timbers: Donovan Ricketts; Jack Jewsbury, Pa-Mondu Kah, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington; Will Johnson©, Diego Chara, Diego Valeri (Kalif Alhassan 80’); Darlington Nagbe, Maximiliano Urruti (Ryan Johnson 73’), Rodney Wallace.
Subs Not Used: Milos Kocic, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Alvas Powell, Ben Zemanski, Jose Antonio Valencia.
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Referee’s Assistants: Eric Boria and Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
With the loss, the Galaxy are now 13-11-6 on the season, leaving them with 45 points. They remain tied with Colorado for fourth place in the Western Conference, six points behind Real Salt Lake and Seattle, who are tied for first place, and four points behind Portland, who are alone in third place.
LA finish the month of September with an 0-2-2 record. This was their first winless month since an 0-5-1 mark in May 2012.
This was the third and final meeting of the regular season between the Galaxy and Timbers. LA went 0-2-1 against the third-year club, who are the only Western Conference team that LA did not beat at least once this season.
Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 at home against Seattle last weekend with Landon Donovan and Kofi Opare each returning to the starting lineup. They replaced Leonardo and Jose Villarreal.
Leonardo did not travel to Portland for the game because of left adductor fatigue.
LA were also without A.J. DeLaGarza and Robbie Rogers, who missed the game with elbow and hamstring injuries respectively.
None of the 11 players that started the game started on Wednesday night in Costa Rica against Cartagines in the CONCACAF Champions League. Only Marcelo Sarvas and Gyasi Zardes came on as substitutes in that game. Michael Stephens and Laurent Courtois each came off the bench against the Timbers after starting on Wednesday.
Jose Villarreal came off the bench in the second half of both games that the Galaxy played this week.
In addition to DeLaGarza and Donovan, the Galaxy were also without Robbie Rogers, who once again missed out with a hamstring injury.
This is the first time in four meetings between the Galaxy and Timbers at JELD-WEN Field that multiple goals were not scored in the first half.
The Timbers went in front early in the second half when Maximiliano Urruti headed a Will Johnson corner kick past Jaime Penedo, making the score 1-0 in favor of Portland.
All three of Portland’s goals against LA this season have come from set pieces, including the game-winning goal from a corner kick in both meetings at JELD-WEN Field.
Robbie Keane appeared to have scored the game-tying goal in second half stoppage time, only for the goal to be called back for offside.
Marcelo Sarvas was shown a yellow card in the 35th minute. That was his team-high eighth of the season, leaving him one away from a one-game suspension. Sarvas is the only Galaxy player to miss a game this season because of yellow card accumulation, sitting out the 0-0 draw with Portland on June 19 after being shown his fifth yellow card of the year in the preceding game.
Landon Donovan was making the 300th regular season league appearance of his MLS career in the game. He has collected 213 of those appearances since joining the Galaxy in 2005.
Robbie Keane started his 50th game as a member of the Galaxy in the contest while Juninho started for the 115th time and Todd Dunivant started for the club for the 180th time.
Dunivant was also making the 270th appearance of his MLS career.
The Galaxy wore their all blue second kits in the game for just the fifth time this season. They are 1-3-1 in those five games.
They return to MLS action on Sunday, October 6 when they host Chivas USA in the third and final SuperClasico of 2013 at StubHub Center. That game, which is presented by Degree Men, kicks off at 2 p.m. (PT) and can be seen live locally in English on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and nationally in Spanish on UniMas.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena
Overall thoughts on the match:
“It was a good game. I think given the conditions, both teams played well.”
On the effect of the weather on the match:
“It's not easy. It's the same for both teams, so you can't complain about it.”
On the offside call in second-half stoppage time:
“If the referee is right, more credit to him. We've been in a lot of games this year where the plays aren't even close and they don't have them right. So, if they had it right, more credit to them."
On the Western Conference playoff race:
“It's close, obviously.”
Galaxy forward Landon Donovan
On the team’s performance:
"It's a tough game with the rain, with the turf, and we're playing against a good team in their stadium. We didn't create any great chances, but I thought overall we played well. We were a little at fault for not shooting and putting the ball on frame a little bit more, but we certainly had better chances in the game than they did. But we can be better and we know when we play at home we're better than that. Tonight, I thought we did enough to at least get a point, but unfortunately we let ourselves down."
On tightening up on set pieces:
"It's a mentality. Defending set pieces is so a mentality. It's who wants the ball. Too often, guys have let down in that area. So, either you change who's marking or people don't play if they can't do that. That's sort of the harsh reality, but that's how it has to be. We can't keep giving up goals like that."
On moving on from the loss:
"We'll rebound easily. Games like this happen. There's not many teams that come here and dominate possession, dominate chances, and dominate the game. That being said, we still lost. They had one half-chance all night and they scored a goal. We had a few OK chances and we didn't get the goal. That's how soccer is, that's how the game is. Overall, I think we played well and we're not overly worried about it."
On the last four games of the season:
"We have three games in a row now at home and realistically, to put ourselves in a really good position, we need to win all three. We feel like we can win all three, we should win all three, but we can't keep giving up goals like the one we did today. As the season gets towards the end and gets tighter, those are the plays that matter and we need to make sure that we're on the positive end of those, not the negative."
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane
On the overall feeling after the game:
"It's really difficult, it's frustrating especially because we seem to be talking about the same stuff all the time, so another set piece; that's a killer. If we stop a team from set pieces, we certainly won't win every game, but for some reason we keep conceding set pieces which, at the moment, is certainly our downfall."
On set piece marking:
"It's the desire to win the header – stay with your man and don't let your man beat you; have enough desire to get there and want to win the ball. At this moment of time, the other teams probably just have more desire than we have to win defensive pieces."
On looking ahead to the final matches of the regular season:
"There's 12 points, obviously, to still get some. We certainly need to start kicking right now because there's not much time left. So, if we keep conceding from set pieces, we can forget about getting to the playoffs. We need to stop fairly soon because there's not many games left. That's what we've been trying to work on for however long it's been since we've been conceding (set pieces) but it's just one of those things that we'll take on the chin and move on and look forward to next week's game."
Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez
On the overall feeling about the result:
"We wanted to come here and get some points and now we've leaving with zero, but on the night I thought we were aggressive, we played really well. But out of really two chances, they scored on a set piece. So, we got beat by a set piece again which isn't good."
On the team’s upcoming home stretch:
"We have three games at home and the last one is against Seattle. At home, we can't drop any points, we have to hopefully get nine points out of those three games. If we do that, we'll be sitting OK."
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
Thoughts on the match:
“It’s a big step. Obviously, every step is important, but this was a big one. It puts us four points clear of LA and Colorado. Our goal is to not just limp into the playoffs, but to get in a good position, hopefully in the top three, and to avoid the play-in game. From that standpoint, it was a big step. It also was a big step for this club, just moving forward to continue to show that we can beat anybody. That team, they were full strength with their top guys in there. They clearly came to play. They knew what was at stake. They knew the importance of this game. That was reflected in their performance, LA played well. We knew it would be a tight game like most high-level soccer games. When you’ve got two good teams trying to do the same things, press and to some extent push the game, it becomes two alpha dogs butting heads. That’s what it looked like. It was choppy at times, but for me it was very mature out of our guys in the way we managed it. We found a goal. I said at halftime that it might just take one. Either way, fortunately we found the goal and defended well. Our back four was extremely tight in managing their very talented players, [Robbie] Keane and [Landon] Donovan. They had a few shots, but they didn’t have many great looks at all on the day. We didn’t have many as well. We need to do better finding the second goal. We had clear chances to find the second goal that would’ve given us more breathing room. In the end, though, if you can’t find the second goal – similar to Colorado – you’ve got to make sure you don’t give up the goal. We did that and got the win because of it.”
On containing Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane:
“I think we did it with collective defending. When guys were isolated individually, they did well also. Mostly, we were just very organized defensively. I thought we pressed enough in the front of our shape that we didn’t allow them to get a ton of the ball in terms of rhythm and quality actions. Also, in the back part of our team, we didn’t open up much space. Their players, with time and space, they can really hurt you. Our goal was to not give them many gaps and I thought [Diego] Chara and [Will] Johnson chipped in as well, being connected with the back four. Those back six guys really were tight and organized and disciplined and they [Donovan and Keane] didn’t get loose much.”
On the team’s big results late in the season:
“I told the guys, the first thing I said was we’ve still got work to do. I don’t want to take away their joy from this game – you’ve got to let them enjoy it – but we still have work to do. What I like about this group is that they believed they could beat this team and win this game and that’s why when I talked to them after the game, they’re not doing cartwheels. They believe, and maybe we’re the only ones, in that locker room, that really believed. If you look at our body of work over the course of the season, there is no reason why we shouldn’t win this game. That’s a good thing. You can pinch results in soccer, but if you do it against the run or if you do it when you’re not the better team – that ultimately leads to you falling short eventually. This team has a real belief that we can do something special this year.”
On Maximiliano Urruti’s performance:
“He’s a finisher. It’s not just the goal, but the amount of ground he covers in pressing their central defenders. He worked tirelessly the entire night to be a nuisance on their central defenders. That’s huge in this system, when you play a 4-3-3. If you’re going to be a pressing team, you need your No. 9 to put the work in and make it predictable and chop the field, and he did that.”
On how close the team is to being full strength moving forward:
“We’ve still got a few guys that are coming back. Obviously, [Diego] Valeri is still not there, but getting closer. He’s still a little sore, but he’s capable of starting and playing like he did – 75 or 80 minutes. Hopefully, we can get him to a point where he can play 90. We’re getting close and I think you’ve seen that in our recent performances. The reality is, the only reason we started dropping points is because we weren’t healthy. I never made that excuse, but that was a big factor. If you look at any team and you chop off their top four or five guys in MLS when you have to build your roster a certain way because of the cap, you’re not going to be the same team. We had different guys at different times that weren’t in there. You’re not going to be the same team. The nice thing is our guys did a good job and still managed to get some points during that lull. But here we are now near full strength and I think you’ve seen that in the last four games with three wins and a draw.”
On Jack Jewsbury’s impact recently and the back line’s collective play and experience:
“I thought he was great tonight. He was going against a world-class athlete in [Gyasi] Zardes and he didn’t lose much. It’s just because he’s smart. He’s an experienced player, he’s a salty dog and he knows how to get it done some way. Futty [Danso] as well. Futty had a few moments on the ball that scare you, but defensively he was solid. He and [Pa Modou] Kah. It was probably the best game Kah has played, also. Thought he was very good today. And Mikey [Harrington]. Mikey has probably played more minutes than anyone. There’s a lot of experience in that back line. We know we’ll find a goal somewhere, maybe we’ll find one but hopefully it’s more than that, but in the end if we don’t give up goals, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
On the team’s recovery after turning the ball over:
“We worked a lot all week on our transition. I thought, especially in the back six guys, when the ball turned over – LA is used to opening you up in those four or five seconds after they win the ball. We worked on that all week making sure that when we did lose the ball that we got connected quick and made them play in front of us. We didn’t give them many gaps in between the center backs and outside backs which is typically the space that Keane and Donovan will pull into, and they’ll knife you. We wanted to be real tight in that back four. We needed Chara and Johnson to help at times to plug the hole because those guys look to check and get in those spaces in front of the central defenders as well. We also worked on that all week and I thought it paid off. More than the training, it was the guys getting it done on the day and making plays and executing.”
Timbers defender Jack Jewsbury
Overall thoughts on the result:
“These last two games we knew were very important. They were two teams a week ago that were ahead of us and we knew these were going to be crucial matches for us being in the playoffs and trying to position ourselves where we want to be. And to be able to come out of them with two wins, two 1-0 wins; we would have loved to come in here with a two or three-nothing win, but at the end of the day, once we got one, being able to lock it down and get the shutout was crucial for us. We feel good about it but there’s still some work to do.”
On limiting the Galaxy’s chances in the second half:
“Yeah, we wanted to be organized. I think Mike [Harrington] and I pressed a little bit more when it was 0-0 to get the goal and try to create some width for us and once we got the goal we got to sit back a little bit more. We still wanted to keep the ball, but make sure our shape was good, and I thought for the most part we didn’t give them too many clear-cut chances and it was nice to get out of here with the shutout, but more importantly with the win.”
On the team defending against Galaxy forwards Donovan and Keane:
“Two of the best players in the league. Their movement off each other is absolutely incredible. We did a lot of scouting throughout the week on them, as we do with every team. But at the end of the day, between the four of us and our two holding midfielders we had to be aware of them at all times and tonight we did a good job of that.”
Timbers forward Darlington Nagbe
On the goal by Urruti:
“I was behind the play, I was right at the top of the box actually, and Will [Johnson] crossed it in and he hit it in … first off, it was a great ball by Will and an even greater finish by Urruti.”
On the season series against LA:
“It feels good, especially when we went there we got a point. So overall, we have a good record [against the Galaxy] at the end of the season, so it feels good and it’s just another chance to move up in the standings.”
On the tight playoff race:
“It’s definitely tight and we know it’s tight, so every game you‘ve got to play like it’s the championship game, so we fight to win games and get good results.”
Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
Overall thoughts on the match:
“It was a good win. I think we did very good work; very good game. In the first half, we had the first 20 minutes that we started very, very good and we deserved the score. I think LA is a very good team. They had very good players and a very good attack and tried to find a goal, but I think we controlled the game.”
On approaching the last few matches of the season:
“I think we are in a very good position. We have four more matches. We have points to make the playoffs with four more games. We must think in the top three, and I think we can do it.