CARSON, Calif. – At least for a night, the Galaxy appeared to recover the swagger and poise that they showed in their 2011 MLS Cup run, grabbing two goals in the late going to record a 3-1 come-from-behind victory against the Portland Timbers.
WATCH: Full match highlights
After going down 1-0 following a Kris Boyd goal in the 23th minute, LA roared back and scored three unanswered goals, including a SportsCenter-worthy strike by David Beckham, to stop a two-match slide. Down a goal, the Galaxy did not appear flustered as they dominated possession for wide stretches of play, showing flashes of their MLS Cup-winning form from a year ago.
Less than 10 minutes before full time, their pressure paid off. Juninho was able to out muscle Darlington Nagbe for a ball in the 83rd minute, before firing a lash from distance that gave the Galaxy the lead. Up a goal, LA showcased the poise that was their strong point a year ago and added a third when Beckham curled a ball into the top corner from 25-yards out one minute into stoppage time to seal the three points.
“It’s a big one obviously because of the run that we’ve been on and the way we’ve been playing,” Beckham told reporters after the match. “Overall, our performance was a 100 percent better than it’s been all season. We played as a team, we attacked and defended as a team and we deserved to win.”
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While LA displayed prowess going forward, their back four was bolstered by the inclusion of David Junior Lopes, who started his first match after being traded to the Galaxy from Chivas USA midweek. With A.J. DeLaGarza out due to right adductor tightness, the Galaxy’s new addition learned on Thursday that he’d get the nod for LA’s reeling backline.
Partnered alongside rookie Tommy Meyer, the hulking Brazilian was solid, providing the Galaxy with physical presence in the back while also coming close to putting the ball in the back of the net himself a couple times.
“He played really well. We were a little concerned about his fitness for 90 minutes, but I thought that he hung in there and he did a good job,” Bruce Arena said. “You can see that he’s an experienced player and obviously has some quality that we’ve been lacking in that position. We’re hopeful that we can build on his performance and our team performance.”
While Arena admitted that it’s early to say that Saturday’s win against Portland was a turning point for the defending MLS Cup Champions, it was certainly a step in the right direction as they look to build on the result.
“Inside the team, they probably know that what they did inside the group as a team tonight was better than the past and that’s what we build on,” said Arena. “At the end of the day, you have to be a good team and we haven’t been a good team in the early going. Tonight, we were a good team.”
Adam Serrano writes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.