Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers: 10 Bold Predictions
With a lot of time to think about what exactly went wrong for Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy, the defending MLS Cup Champions will be out to salvage their season starting on Jun. 17 against the Portland Timbers at the Home Depot Center.
It has been a sorry season of all sorts for the Galaxy, who possess Major League Soccer's third-worst record, a paltry 3-8-2 (11 points). Injuries, national team duty, and suspensions have made life miserable for Los Angeles.
However, these are bold predictions for a reason. Sometimes they bow to conventional wisdom. Other times, conventional wisdom takes a back seat. For this match, I am going with the latter.
Here are 10 bold predictions for the match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Portland Timbers.
1. A Royal Inspiration
The Los Angeles Galaxy, as you all should know, are owned by the Anschutz Entertainment Group, or AEG. Another AEG-owned club made its own history and won some important hardware. That team: the Los Angeles Kings, who won the Stanley Cup on Monday in their 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. (Source: Bleacher Report)
If the Galaxy can look to their ice hockey counterparts for some royal inspiration, then there is a possibility that LA's season might have new life. The "one-game-at-a-time" approach will be vital in utilizing such an inspiration. And it starts on Sunday.
2. Reserve League Heroes Step Up for Los Angeles
The LA Galaxy may not have been consistent with winning in league play, but in Reserve League action, it's been a totally different story, with Los Angeles currently sporting a 2-1-1 record heading into their Tuesday match with Vancouver, according to LAGalaxy.com.
A number of reserves could be the difference for Los Angeles, such as Bryan Jordan and Kenney Walker.
3. Landon Donovan Comes Back in Style for the Galaxy
Los Angeles, believe it or not, have been boldly predicted by yours truly to open up the scoring, and it will come from Landon Donovan himself.
Currently, Donovan is busy with the USA men's national team as they face Guatemala Tuesday, but if there is one person who knows how to fire up a stagnant team, it has to be him. So look for Donovan to light a match, a fuse, for Los Angeles.
4. David Beckham Also on the Score Sheet
Whether it's by scoring or providing, David Beckham's reliability will be the driving force behind what hopefully will be the start of a resurgence for Los Angeles.
To my personal surprise (and utter disgust), Beckham is going to be on the roster for Team GB, according to the Daily Telegraph (which means that they have effectively jeopardized their chances of winning the gold, as far as I am concerned), so matches like this will be a test for Becks to step his game up and come into London ready to play with the young folks.
In addition, Beckham was at the game on Monday, perhaps reiterating my first bold prediction. (Source: Daily Mail)
5. Kris Boyd on the Score Sheet for Portland
To be fair, Kris Boyd could have recorded a brace in Portland's first meeting with the Galaxy. The would-be goal was a thing of beauty: good first touch, clinical finish—the problem was that he was offsides.
Boyd will be keen to avoid that mistake on Sunday, when both teams meet. Boyd leads the team in goals with four.
6. More Inspiration...from Cal FC
While the Los Angeles Galaxy lost to a second-division side in the U.S. Open Cup in the form of Carolina RailHawks, the Timbers lost to 1-0 to Cal F.C., a USASA side managed by Eric Wynalda.
This loss may unsettle Portland quite a bit and may be even more inspiration for Los Angeles to wake up and perform against a team with a lot of egg on its face.
7. Ball Possession Battle Goes to Los Angeles
My rule is that if you can dominate ball possession, you will win the game. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but if LA can dominate in the ball possession category, the Galaxy will be able to generate enough chances to win the match.
I see this going 55-45 in favor of the G's.
8. Under 20 Fouls and No More Than Three Yellows
I feel that I've been consistent with the physical aspect of the matches I boldly predict, but this time, the match should be a little bit more free-flowing, with the whistles not blowing as much.
So I am calling for less than 20 fouls, no more than three yellows and no reds in this contest. These are two teams with nothing to lose. Let the players play, that's all I gotta say.
9. 1-1 Draw at Halftime
In these bold predictions, it has been common for me to call for 1-1 draws at halftime, and I am going to call it again, with Los Angeles and Portland trading goals by the stroke of halftime.
10. Los Angeles Takes the First Step
Los Angeles are in dire need of a win. Inspiration and Reserve League success, as well as similarly inspired play from Landon Donovan and David Beckham, should be enough for the Galaxy to overcome their injuries and suspensions and record their first win in a long time.
Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Portland Timbers 1
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