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Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers: Ending the Chainsaw Massacre

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IApril 19, 2011

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 17:  Kalif Alhassan #11, Jack Jewsbury #13 and Kenny Cooper #33, each hold a slab of log indicating that they scored a goal, celebrate in front of their fans after the game at Jeld-Wen Field on April 17, 2011 in Portland, Oregon. The Timbers won the game 3-2. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy ended their three-game road tilt with five points out a possible nine. While league leaders Real Salt Lake have three games in hand on the G's, LA got a huge boost on Sunday with their 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire.

The win sets the stage for the Galaxy's first encounter with one of the new teams this year, albeit in name only: John Spencer's suddenly-high flying  Portland Timbers on Saturday, April 23 at the Home Depot Center.

“It’s important because we had five of our first seven goals… on the road. Whenever you can get points on the road, it’s important,” Arena told MLSSoccer.com's Luis Bueno. “The three points were critically important. At this stage of the season, with what we’ve dealt with—with injuries and the road games and the situations we’ve had to deal with—and to… have 12 points after seven games isn’t bad.”

The Galaxy manager credited the Chicago victory to their depth, which will be needed once again.

“We didn’t have a lot of guys eligible to play,” Arena said. “Guys stepped up (Sunday) that haven’t been playing regularly like Paolo Cardozo, Miguel Lopez, Mike Stephens and Frankie Hejduk. We’re happy Omar was able to make an appearance; he played well… and obviously the second goal was an important goal.”

“It’s my third or fourth game back and to get a game-winning goal is great, especially getting it off a header. It’s something I worked hard at during the offseason,” said Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez, who played his part in the win. “It’s good to get the game-winner because it’s been a long road trip and we’ve scooped up nine points in five games.”

Aside from depth, the Galaxy won this game due to controlled passing and reduced long balls. Short, controlled passed and timely possession will be needed against a Portland side that did the same thing in home-cooking Chicago and FC Dallas at Jeld-Wen Field this past week.

David Beckham, Juninho and Jovan Kirovski will be available after serving suspensions on Sunday. However, the Galaxy lost Leonardo for the season on Sunday, and team captain Landon Donovan is still nursing inflammation in his knee.

Also questionable is Paolo Cardozo, who also suffered a knock and will be going through scans this week to evaluate his fitness for Saturday at Victoria Street.

A number of capable scorers have stepped up for Portland early this year, namely captain Jack Jewsbury, Jorge Perlaza, Kenny Coooper and Rodney Wallace. All have two goals each.

The Timbers' main provider is Kalif Alhassan, who currently has three assists this year. Alhassan has excellent dribbling ability and can misdirect opposing defenses with his ball movement. Look for the Galaxy's backline of A.J. DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant and frankie Hejduk to keep Alhassan at bay.

Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson has a 2-0-1 record to go with a 1.71 goals against average and a 70.6 percent save percentage. His counterpart, LA's Donovan Ricketts, has a 2-0-2 record, a 0.50 GAA and an 80 percent save percentage.

With Beckham back in the lineup, his leadership will be needed as much as better set piece selections. The emergence of Argentinean Miguel Lopez adds another dimension to the Galaxy attack.

Prediction:
All win streaks must come to an end at some time, and for the Portland Timbers, it will end on Saturday at the Home Depot Center. The victory over the Fire has breathed new life into the Los Angeles Galaxy, and this should be where Bruce Arena's club builds on that win.

Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Portland Timbers 1
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. PT/11:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.


INS AND OUTS:

Youth Academy Update

Action, action! The Los Angeles Galaxy Youth Academy Under-18s and Under-16s were back in action in the US Soccer Development Academy, and it was not a memorable two weeks to remember.

On Sunday, April 10, the Galaxy Youth Academy took on Arsenal FC at the Home Depot Center. It was a disappointing effort for the Galaxy as both teams fell 2-1.

Alan Rovira scored in the 43rd minute for LA's Under-18s while Justin Dhillon scored in the 11th minute for the Under-16s.

A mixed set of results awaited the Academy on Sunday, April 17 when they hosted Real So Cal.

The Under-18s fought to a 2-2 draw. Eric Gonzalez scored in the 33rd minute for the Young G's, while Matthew Tilley salvaged the split with a 90th minute equalizer.

The Under-16s bounced back from that horrendous effort against Arsenal with a 3-2 victory after racing to a 3-0 lead just into the second half.

Dhillon scored what would be the deciding goal in the 47th minute. Ludwing Vargas opened the proceedings in the 15th minute and Ivan Vasquez added another in the 25th minute of play.

Up next: the Mini Clasicos between the youth academies of the Galaxy and rivals Chivas USA on Saturday, April 30 at Victoria Street.

Kickoff for the Under-18s is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. ET while the Under-16s kick off at 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET.

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