The first half was a tight affair, with Portland controlling the run of play and getting nearly all of the chances. Latif Blessing had a great chance to go ahead in the 30th minute, as Carlos Vela sent a ball to him up top, with the Ghanaian getting past Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, but his shot went into the side netting.
The Timbers went ahead for the first time in the 52nd minute. Diego Valeri had a free kick in a favorable position, but Tyler Miller got low to block the shot. He coughed up a big rebound, however, and midfielder Cristhian Paredes followed up on it, beating Miller to the ball and putting it away to make it 1-0.
The Timbers continued to control matters after that, but LAFC battled to get back into the game. When it seemed like LAFC may not have enough on the day, Vela lifted hopes of the amazing, as he hit a beautiful one-time curler from his left foot after getting a feed from substitute Eduard Atuesta in the 74th minute. It was a remarkable goal, and it looked like LAFC would get something out of the match.
But a few minutes later, Portland had a dagger, as forward Samuel Armenteros scored his first MLS goal in impressive fashion, hitting an absolute laser from the top of the box after dribbling upfield from behind the center line, then cutting inside onto his left foot.
All in all, it was the kind of game where LAFC looked like they were playing uphill all game. In other words, it was a road game. The Timbers came out smart, with a good gameplan, and kept LAFC on the back foot pretty much throughout. And while on paper the three-man backline of Laurent Ciman, Walker Zimmerman and Dejan Jakovic, with Jordan Harvey and Steven Beitashour as wingbacks made sense, the changes seemed to upset some of the team chemistry and they lacked a bit of rhythm. Was it the lineup changes, was it going back onto the road, or was it being a road game? Remember, the Timbers have now won five games in a row, so they aren’t pushovers, but LAFC couldn’t send their World Cup-bound players on a high like we all hoped.
LAFC are next in action on Tuesday for their friendly at Banc of California Stadium against Borussia Dortmund. Expect as heavy a reserve-filled lineup as the contract will allow for them.
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