After dispensing of the newly minted MLS side the Minnesota United FC last week in a 5-1 thrashing, the Timbers appeared to be poised to do the same in Los Angeles against the Galaxy. Although, things did not quite go as well as they could.
Both teams came out with something to prove as LA dropped their opening round match to Dallas, and the Timbers took awhile to heat up against an expansion team. Well, it didn’t take long for Midfielder Diego Chara to smash home his first goal since October of 2015…he’s a defensive stalwart people.
All of eight minutes into the match he was on the receiving end of a great feed from Diego Valeri, after he put a header in a perfect position for Valeri on the run. It really was a thing of beauty and a must watch. If only the rest of the match went that well.
While the Diego’s looked great early, things seemed to get better for the Timbers after that. In the 31st minute, Galaxy Defender Jelle Van Damme received a Yellow Card for a “challenge” on Chara. His reaction didn’t help his standing with Referee Baldomero Toledo, but he had a case.
Three scant minutes later Van Damme went in on Timbers Midfielder David Guzman, and once again here comes the Yellow Card, which meant Red for Mr. Van Damme. Not surprisingly he had yet another earful, and dramatic reaction, for the ref. Sadly, again, he had a good case.
I’m not going to sit here and look a gift horse in the mouth. Van Damme had a right to be furious, but his reaction after the first one did him no favors. I’m also not going to ignore Chara and Guzman’s help with the referee’s decisions. Perhaps if both weren’t so close together, Van Damme could have been spared the Red Card, who knows.
We can do coulda, would, shoulda all day on the referee’s decision, but what it came down to is the Timbers would had 56 minutes of a man-advantage in front of them. I’m sure I wasn’t the only faithful fan hoping for a few more goals. Yet, they did not come.
Looking at the boxscore (see below) without watching the match you’d never guess one team had a man advantage, which says more about the Timbers than the Galaxy in my opinion. LA was backed into a corner and circled the wagons, the Timbers were given a gift and held on by the skin of their teeth to three points.
All I have to say is thank the Soccer Gods for Jake Gleeson. The Kiwi stood tall on several occasions to secure three points for his team, especially this gem in extra-time. This was three of the most unsettling points I have ever seen.
It’s the second game into the season, and the Timbers are 2-0, so I am not going to act like the sky is falling. However, it took them awhile to warm up against an obviously unprepared, expansion team in Week 1, and then could not capitalize with a man-advantage for more than a half.
The Timbers have had a significant amount of turnover in the offseason, which can be seen in the debut of Marco Farfan, an 18 year old Gresham kid. There’s a learning curve there as well.
Next week they have the Houston Dynamo in town, who they are tied with at the top of the Western Conference. The season is young, hopes are high, and I am looking forward to seeing how the Timbers respond in this very young season. See you at Providence Park on Saturday!