Midfielder Diego Valeri recorded two assists, forward Ryan Johnson tallied a first-half goal and defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste delivered the game-winner in second-half stoppage time to help the Portland Timbers defeat the LA Galaxy 2-1 before a sellout crowd of 20,674 at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday night.
With the win, the Timbers (8-2-9, 33pts) move into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference and extend their home unbeaten streak to seven games.
Two of MLS’s top-scoring clubs, the Galaxy (9-8-3, 30pts) and Timbers traded goals in the first half. Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas struck for the opening goal in the 17th minute. The Timbers pulled level 10 minutes later, as a quickly taken restart led to Johnson’s equalizer in the 27th minute and the two sides entered the break locked at 1-1.
After a hard-fought second half, the Timbers claimed all three points with the game-winning goal four minutes into second-half stoppage time. A corner kick from the right side by Valeri was met by Jean-Baptiste near the top of the six-yard box and the defender snapped a header inside the left post.
Portland battled back to earn a result for the sixth time this season after going down a goal in a match.
The Galaxy became the first club in seven MLS matches at JELD-WEN Field to unlock the Timbers defense, as a cross by midfielder Hector Jiménez was headed home by Sarvas in the bottom left corner. The goal by Sarvas was the first allowed by the Timbers at home in a league match since March 9, ending a consecutive shutout streak at 587 minutes.
The Timbers evened the score on Johnson’s sixth goal of the season. On quickly taken restart in the attacking third, Valeri slipped a pass down the right side of the box for Darlington Nagbe. On his first touch, Nagbe squared the ball across the goalmouth for Johnson slicing through on the back side, and Johnson drove the ball into an open left side of the goal.
Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts recorded four saves on the night. He made a key diving save in the 38th minute on a free kick by Galaxy midfielder Juninho from the top of the arc aimed at the top left corner of the goal. Ricketts’ outstretched hand pushed the ball just wide of the target.
The Timbers forced Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini into a sequence of saves just after the hour mark. After a diving save on a shot by Nagbe from the top of the box, Cudicini was able to recover and moved across his line to make a second save on a shot by Johnson on the rebound at the left post.