Three Points: Yet another late goal causes the Galaxy to fall 2-1 to Portland

Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to LA’s heartbreaking late defeat to the Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. –LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to the LA Galaxy’s 2-1 defeat against the Portland Timbers.

LATE GOALS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE THE GALAXY

Another late goal, another defeat for the LA Galaxy, and now more questions on how LA fix their greatest problem of 2013.

The Galaxy appeared to have earned a hard-fought road point on Saturday at JELD-WEN Field, but a goal by Andrew Jean-Baptiste off a corner kick in the fourth minute of stoppage time turned a single point into zero as LA fell 2-1 to the Portland Timbers. The goal is the 15th that the Galaxy have allowed in the final 15 minutes of matches and when LA give up a late goal, they’re a disappointing 1-7-2.  Add it all up and this propensity to concede late is the reason the Galaxy find themselves in the middle of the Western Conference table as opposed to challenging Real Salt Lake at the top of the table.

Just how do the Galaxy correct this problem? In the end, LA will need to show more composure when it comes to finishing games. In many of these defeats, the Galaxy have been the better team, but a failure to close out games has cost the Galaxy dearly. Until LA correct this problem, they’ll never be able to go on the type of winning streak that is needed to make a move up the standings.

PLENTY OF FIREWORKS IN TIMBERS WIN

Yes, the LA Galaxy were defeated on Saturday, but if you wanted a precursor to playoff action and a playoff atmosphere, Saturday’s 2-1 Timbers victory delivered.

Both teams anticipated a frantic match at JELD-WEN Field and Saturday’s match was certainly one as both sides traded chances for 90 minutes. Perhaps, the statistic that best showcases the back-and-forth nature of Saturday’s match is the number of passes: Portland racked up 418 while the Galaxy tallied 405 for a grand total of 823. Adding to the intrigue was the physical nature of the match as referee Baldomero Toledo allowed the sides to play a physical brand of soccer that resulted in a combined 30 fouls and seven yellow cards.

With both sides remaining near the top of the Western Conference standings, it’s not too early to circle the next meeting between the two sides on Sept. 29 at JELD-WEN Field.

WATCH: Postgame reaction from Carlo Cudicini

CUDICINI AND RICKETTS IMPRESS

The Portland Timbers may have nicked the LA Galaxy with a late goal, but the reason the score was level at 1-1 heading into stoppage time were a pair of fantastic performances by the two goalkeepers.

Carlo Cudicini tallied three saves while Portland’s Donovan Ricketts finished the night with four. Neither was at fault during the goals that they conceded, but had plenty of highlight reel saves. While providing a calming presence in the back, Cudicini made his biggest stop in the 61st minute when he denied a close range shot by Darlington Nagbe before denying Ryan Johnson’s effort on the rebound seconds later.

In a classic case of “anything you can do, I can do better,” Cudicini’s adversary, Ricketts was key in keeping the Galaxy at bay. Providing a big presence in the penalty area, Ricketts was able to snuff out Galaxy attempts while also making a few stellar saves like a diving effort to deny a Juninho free kick in the 38th minute.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com