Chicharito opened up his goal scoring account for the Galaxy on Monday night when he netted the Galaxy’s lone goal in the 2-1 defeat to the Portland Timbers. Photo courtesy of LA Galaxy.
By Jeremy Gonzalez, Sports Editor
The Portland Timbers outlasted the LA Galaxy 2-1 on Monday night during both teams’ first Group F matchup in the MLS is Back tournament, beating the Galaxy despite a second-half red card and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez opening up his LA Galaxy goal account.
Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco was the orchestrator of the victory, providing the assist for Jeremy Ebobisse to nab the first goal in the 59th minute, making a clever run to collect a through ball before passing it to Ebobisse who hit it in from inside the six-yard box.
Blanco doubled the Timbers lead in the 66th minute when he beat Galaxy defender Emiliano Insua on a 50/50 ball, dribbled past defender Giancarlo Gonzalez, and scored the eventual game-winning goal into the far side netting.
The Galaxy gained an advantage in the 75th minute when Timbers defender Dario Zuparic received his second yellow card of the night, which resulted in him being sent off and left leaving Portland with only 10 men.
Serious chances began to come for the Galaxy and Hernandez grabbed his first ever MLS goal in the 88th minute to make it 2-1 after cutting inside a defender to beat him to a low cross and first timed it past Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark.
The biggest moment of the game came early. In the 12th minute, Portland conceded a penalty to the Galaxy from a hand ball inside the penalty box. Hernandez stepped up to take the kick, only to have his penalty thwarted by Clark. The game’s momentum might have changed had Chicharito converted the penalty.
Although a huge weight has now been lifted from Chicharito’s shoulders as he scored his first Galaxy goal three games into his stint with the team, his night was frustrating nonetheless, highlighted by the missed penalty.
“It’s not the greatest feeling to score your first goal in a loss like this one, especially after missing a penalty,” Hernandez said in the post-game conference. “I told the team that this loss was on me.”
Los Angeles first thought it scored a goal in the 81st minute through midfielder Gordon Wild, but his back-post finish was erased after video review showed that Wild was in an offside position.
The Galaxy are now 0-2-1 on the regular season and are heading into arguably their biggest game and test of the season when they face LAFC on Saturday July 18. LAFC played just before the Galaxy-Timbers match and tied 3-3 with the other team in Group F, the Houston Dynamo.
After the first matchday for Group F, the Timbers are in first place with three points. Houston and LAFC are tied for second with one point each and the Galaxy remain at the bottom of the group with no points.
The Galaxy and LAFC will square off in the next chapter of El Trafico on July 18, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m PST and will be shown on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Portland will face off against Houston in more Group F action, with that game being scheduled just before the El Trafico matchup at 5 p.m PST and will also be shown on the same networks, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.