The win snapped a two-game losing run by LAFC, who had lost four of their last five. And with the schedule not getting much easier, wins are needed if LAFC want to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.
Bob Bradley started a strong group among those available, with Tristan Blackmon (hamstring strain) joining Carlos Vela on the sideline. Eduard Atuesta was included on the bench.
The Timbers got a controversial opener in the 25th minute. Diego Valeri sent a pass to Felipe Mora, who fed Eryk Williamson to score easily. But it looked like Jeremy Ebobisse impeded Eddie Segura with a pick in the box in the buildup, and Segura ran into Ebobisse and wasn’t able to cover Williamson on the play. The goal wasn’t reviewed in any depth so apparently picks like that are cool.
LAFC thought they had the equalizer in the 35th minute, but after the goal was scored by Diego Rossi, the goal was waived off as Rossi was offside on the first shot in the sequence, from Francisco Ginella. It appeared Timbers defender Dario Zuparic handled the ball before that chalked off goal, but there was no review by the officials.
But moments later LAFC did have the equalizer, as Mark-Anthony Kaye scored at the back post off a corner kick, with Bradley Wright-Phillips flicking the ball on with a header on the way over.
Then LAFC took the lead in the 41st minute, as Rossi had a backdoor run that beat the Timbers, found the ball in the buildup and buried the shot to make it 2-1.
They extended their lead in first-half stoppage time, with Ginella setting up Bradley Wright-Phillips with a nifty poacher’s one-timer to make it 3-1.
That goal would be important, because Portland went right down to the other end and scored again themselves, with Ebobisse heading the ball in off Jorge Villafaña’s long cross to make it 3-2 before the halftime break.
Just after the restart, Segura was forced into a goal-line save to preserve LAFC’s lead. It was a bit lucky, but it worked!
The second half was largely quiet, with Portland mostly controlling the run of play but LAFC holding them back, but the home side iced the result late in second-half stoppage time, as substitute Danny Musovski scored on the final kick of the game to make it 4-2.
Atuesta entered the game in the 80th minute, the midfielder’s return long-awaited as he recovered from a foot injury suffered in Orlando, and he helped start the buildup to Musovski’s late goal to put the cherry on top.
All in all, it was a trademark LAFC performance: The attack was fantastic and the defense was wildly inconsistent over the 90 minutes. In the end, they did enough to preserve a win, but I think we know this is how LAFC are going to be, as long as they can keep the belief alive and score four goals, they’ll be able to stay in most games.
LAFC are scheduled to be back in action Friday, when they travel to Washington to take on the Seattle Sounders again. That’s right, the road does not get any easier, but Seattle have been a bit inconsistent lately, so maybe LAFC can exact a bit of revenge for the last loss a couple weeks back.
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