Match Report presented by ECHO: Chicharito scores first MLS goal as LA Galaxy fall 2-1 to Portland in MLS is Back Tournament opener

The Portland Timbers withstood a second-half red card and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s first LA Galaxy goal to earn a 2-1 win during Group F action Monday night at the MLS is Back Tournament.

Sebastian Blanco was Portland’s catalyst, setting up Jeremy Ebobisse’s opener in the 59th minute. He collected a Diego Valeri through ball after a clever run, then displayed patience before picking out Ebobisse for the tap-in.

Portland made it 2-0 in the 66th minute via Blanco, when the Argentine beat Emiliano Insua to a 50-50 ball, dribbled past Giancarlo Gonzalez and rifled into the far-side netting. 

LA began to generate serious chances after Dario Zuparic was shown a second yellow card in the 75th minute, reducing the Timbers to 10 men. That also paved the way for Chicharito’s first goal in MLS, when the Mexican superstar tallied in the 88th minute to make it 2-1. After peeling off the defender’s shoulder, he one-timed home a low Gordon Wild cross.

Chicharito’s night proved frustrating at times, though, as highlighted by a missed penalty kick in the 12th minute. His effort was thwarted by Steve Clark, with the chance arriving after Zuparic blocked Cristian Pavon’s shot with his arm.

LA first thought they had a lifeline in the 81st minute through Wild, but his back-post finish was called back after Video Review determined he was in an offside position.

GOALS

  • 59' – POR – Jeremy Ebobisse | WATCH
  • 66' – POR – Sebastian Blanco | WATCH
  • 88' – LA – Chicharito | WATCH

MAN OF THE MATCH

With one goal and one assist during the 2-1 win, Sebastian Blanco’s the obvious choice here. Plus, he breezed past several LA defenders on what ultimately was the game-winning shot.

THREE THINGS

The Big Picture: Some pressure is lifted off Chicharito’s shoulders now that he’s scored in MLS, but broader team issues remain for the Galaxy. They’re 0-2-1 this year and aren’t exactly in tip-top form ahead of Saturday’s El Trafico against LAFC. Meanwhile, Portland looked especially solid until the red card. That came with marquee offseason signings Yimmi Chara and Jaroslaw Niezgoda starting on the bench, too.

Moment of the Match: We’re going with Chicharito’s first-half miss from the penalty kick spot. Had he scored in that instance, LA might have been on the front foot and never looked back.

You Might Have Missed: Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelleto handed a surprise debut start to 17-year-old Homegrown winger Cameron Dunbar. He showed bright moments during his 66-minute stint, less than five months after turning pro.

NEXT UP

LA Galaxy: Saturday, July 18 vs. LAFC (10:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada)