It looked like LAFC would split the points at least, but Timbers substitute Felipe Mora scored in the 93rd minute to win the game for the home team, ending LAFC’s three-game winning streak in an instant.
Bob Bradley made three changes to the LAFC XI, with Tristan Blackmon replacing the suspended Jesus David Murillo, Diego Palacios entering for Raheem Edwards, and Francisco Ginella taking Eduard Atuesta’s place on the night.
The Timbers took an early lead through a moment of magic from Diego Valeri, who took a ball around the corner from Josecarlos Van Rankin and beat Tomas Romero in LAFC’s goal just two minutes in.
LAFC pushed hard for an equalizer from there, and found it in the 17th minute, with Diego Rossi taking a ball down from over the top, sending a low cross into the box, and Carlos Vela tapping in the shot to make it 1-1.
The game was fairly open from there, but LAFC pushed again for a go-ahead goal in the final 15 of the first half.
The teams went into the break deadlocked at 1-1. LAFC had big edges in total shots and shots on target, but they didn’t yet have the second goal they desired.
Romero denied Valeri his second goal of the night just after the hour mark, the goalkeeper making the save through traffic to keep the score 1-1.
LAFC’s first three changes came in the 67th and 68th minutes: Raheem Edwards, Corey Baird and Bryce Duke in for Palacios, Kim Moon-hwan and Ginella.
Rossi got the ball in the net off a corner kick in the 71st minute, but he was clearly offside from Jose Cifuentes’ initial header and the goal was chalked off.
Brian Rodriguez made his long-awaited return to action in the 80th minute, entering the game for Vela.
Taking off Vela was a risk with the team chasing a winner, but in order to manage his minutes it was a fair call. LAFC kept pushing to get the go-ahead goal in the dying minutes, but they couldn’t get the winning strike in this game.
Instead, it was the Timbers, as one substitute, Sebastian Blanco, hit a speculative cross to Mora in the box, and the forward headed it into the net to win the game.
I’ll say up front that it’s hard for road teams to grab results at Providence Park, but LAFC should be disappointed by that one. They played like the home side for a good 88 minutes and the Timbers sandwiched a very early and very late goal around Vela’s strike to make it a home win. Expecting a team to be perfect is not realistic, but this one certainly stings, because LAFC should have won this game, to say nothing of losing it altogether.
LAFC are next in action on Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps. They have struggled this season, but the Whitecaps have had LAFC’s number in the past, so beware this matchup.
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