Three Points: LA Galaxy hope home cooking lifts them over red-hot Portland Timbers
CARSON, Calif. –LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano gives his Three Points to the Galaxy’s clash with the in- form Portland Timbers, who are unbeaten in 15 straight matches in all competitions.
KEANE TO RETURN TO THE LINEUP AND LOOKS TO SAW THROUGH TIMBERS DEFENSE
The LA Galaxy offense is about to get a shot in the arm with the return of captain Robbie Keane to the lineup for LA’s clash against the Portland Timbers.
Last time Keane suited up for the Galaxy, he terrorized Seattle Sounders FC as LA ran away with a 4-0 victory—that saw the Irishman notch a hat trick—but since he departed for international duty, the team has struggled. In the two league matches since his absence, LA has conceded eight times and scored only once. The Irish forward rejoins the fold after an incredible scoring tear with Ireland where he scored five times during his four international matches. Keane is in for a stiffer test from the Portland defense; however, than the one he faced against Georgia and the Faroe Islands.
Led by former Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, the Timbers defense has been in form as of late, only conceding twice in their last three games and will present a major challenge for LA. But Portland may be without veteran center back Mamadou “Futty” Danso after the defender suffered a sprained ankle in the Timbers victory over FC Dallas. If Danso cannot go, Andrew Jean-Baptiste seems likely to start alongside newcomer Pa Modou Kah.
The Portland Timbers are currently on an incredible run of form as of late with a 13-game unbeaten run in the league and much of that success is owed to Argentine midfielder Diego Valeri. STANDINGS
In 13 regular season appearances, Valeri has notched four goals and four assists while displaying a penchant for scoring brilliant and timely goals. But Valeri’s impact isn’t merely felt on the scoresheet as he also serves as the engine for Portland’s fast paced possession-oriented offense. The task of shutting down Valeri is expected to fall to Juninho, who will look to frustrate the Argentine as he looks to create offense for Portland.
Who joins Juninho remains a question mark for the Galaxy. With Marcelo Sarvas suspended due to yellow card accumulation, veteran Pablo Mastroeni as well youngsters Rafael Garcia and Michael Stephens appear to be the frontrunners to step in for the Brazilian. However, with a physical presence needed to stop the free-flowing Timbers attack expect either Mastroeni or Garcia to get the call. With Mastoreni still adapting to a new team, Garcia is likely the safest bet due to his bite in the midfield.
CAN HOME COOKING BOOST THE GALAXY?
The LA Galaxy have logged plenty of miles on the road as of late, but now they’ll return home to the StubHub Center as they look to start the busy summer schedule with a victory over Portland.
This season, LA has been dominant at home with a 4-1-1 record and enjoyed, arguably, their finest performance during their last match at newly-renamed StubHub Center with a 4-0 trouncing of Seattle Sounders FC. Seattle, like Portland, entered that match with a full head of steam, but was devastated by a confident Galaxy side.
Even with the support of the home fans behind them, the Galaxy know that they will need to earn a result against a Timbers side that remains the only MLS club undefeated on the road this season with a 2-0-6 record.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com