Los Angeles Galaxy vs Portland Timbers: The Northwest Expedition Concludes

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IJuly 31, 2011

CARSON, CA - APRIL 23:  Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy leads his teammates to midfield prior to the MLS match against the Portland Timbers at The Home Depot Center on April 23, 2011 in Carson, California. The Galaxy defeated the Timbers 3-0.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy, fresh off a 4-0 whitewash of the Vancouver Whitecaps, will look to complete a Northwest Expedition clean sweep when they travel to Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, OR to take on John Spencer's Portland Timbers on Wednesday, August 3.

Los Angeles are currently 12-2-9 (45 points) and have the best record in Major League Soccer.

“I thought our team played very well for 90 minutes [against Vancouver]. The first half, both teams created chances, but we took control around the 30 minute mark and had a very good second half,” Arena told MLSSoccer.com's Luis Bueno. “Landon’s goal broke Vancouver’s backs. It was a very good day for the Galaxy.

“I thought our ball movement was better. Defensively we were solid, but the ball movement was the key to the game. We passed better and we got out of pressure better.”

For the Galaxy, playing a complete 90 minutes will be important against a side that has one of the most challenging environments to get a road result at.

“The game was pretty even until the first goal,” said Galaxy midfielder and team captain Landon Donovan. “Vancouver did a good job of attacking, but I think we also did a good job of attacking. The two teams clearly wanted to win the game. Our fault in the first half was not being clinical in front of the goal but once we were in the second half, we were able to pull away.”

“These games can turn very quickly and I don’t think they should only have two wins this season,” Arena said of the Whitecaps. “They’ve played pretty well at times this year and it’s been unfortunate for them. They have a good nucleus and can continue on and have a good 2011 campaign. They have a bright future in MLS.”

Earlier this season, the Galaxy shut out the Portland Timbers 3-0 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California on April 23. Chad Barrett opened the scoring in the third minute of play while Donovan recorded a brace in the eighth and 67th minutes.

Team captain Jack Jewsbury leads the team in goals and assists with six each. Other key contributors that Omar Gonzalez and the Galaxy backline must mark include Jorge Perlaza and Kalif Alhassan.

Perlaza has four goals this season, while Alhassan has five assists to his credit. Look also for the likes of Kenny Cooper to get his share of attempts coming Josh Saunders's direction.

Goalkeeper Troy Perkinds has a 1.60 goals against average to go with 50 saves and a 67 percent save percentage. The back line of Rodney Wallace, Eric Brunne, Jeremy Hall and Mamadou "Futty" Danso have a tough assignment in containing Donovan and midfielder David Beckham, who returns from suspension.

Toronto FC have proved that Portland can be scored on by anybody, regardless of the record. Watch for Beckham to make his presence felt early with a majority of corner and set pieces going his way (by the way, Mr. Beckham, try not to complain about the foam that the official will use to mark the 10-yard wall. Hint, hint, hint).

Beckham leads the team with eight assists, while Donovan is tied with Thierry Henry for most league goals at 11.

An important decision will need to be made regarding Juan Pablo Angel. Does Arena start him? Or does he place him on the bench to come on as a sub? Clearly the Colombian has turned into a shell of his former self and is becoming a liability to the LA attack. The decision Arena makes regarding Angel on Wednesday could potentially determine the outcome of the match at Jeld-Wen.

With Birchall returning from suspension, expect the young Englishman who plays for Trinidad and Tobago to dictate traffic alongside Beckham. Los Angeles need to create sets of sequences while disrupting Portland's ball movement.

With Gonzalez donning a protective face mask, his presence alongside A.J. DeLaGarza, Franklin, Gregg Berhalter and Todd Dunivant will make the task a manageable one.

Goalkeeper Josh Saunders is savoring his role as the starting goalkeeper, and with the shutout against Vancouver, he now sports a 6-1-3 record with a 0.98 goals against average, 30 saves and a 76.9 percent save percentage.


Prediction


The Timbers Army will try to get Timber Joey to saw off some pieces of his scarfed log, but it might not happen on Wednesday. The Galaxy need a result to set themselves up for a classic tilt on Saturday against Dallas. Look for the Northwest Expedition to be rendered a success this year.

Los Angeles Galaxy 3, Portland Timbers 0

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2.


Ins and Outs
Youth Academy Update

Well, the Galaxy Academy Under-18s may not have qualified for the playoffs in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, but they did make up for it in a big way.

On Sunday, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, the Galaxy Under-18s shut out the  hosts FC Dallas 2-0 to lift the Generation Adidas Cup. Sebastian Velasquez and Mario Rodriguez scored for the Young G's.

“Both teams were completely shot today,” said Galaxy Academy manager Kenny Arena, the son of first team manager Bruce Arena. “In this heat, to play five games in seven days, it’s nearly impossible.

“I actually thought we put a good product on the field. “We talked to [our players] early in the game just about finding each other’s feet. As many passes as they can make will help us in terms of our energy getting through the game.”

“It just shows a lot about our character about how we came in here and worked,” Galaxy U-18s midfielder Grady Howe said. “We disregarded the pain, the tired legs we had; it was something special to see our team put in that kind of shift.”

The New York Red Bulls won the Under-15 showcase cup, defeating Chivas USA 3-2.

Other U-17 scores...

New York Red Bulls 3, Houston Dynamo 0
San Jose Earthquakes 2, Colorado Rapids 1
Sporting KC 3, Chicago Fire 0
Chivas USA 6, D.C. United 0
Toronto FC 3, Philadelphia Union 3 (Toronto wins on PKs, 9-8)
Seattle Sounders FC 5, Columbus Crew 3
Real Salt Lake 4, New England Revolution 2