Galaxy settle for draw against the Timbers as playoff hopes dwindle

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
The LA Galaxy settled for their second consecutive 3-3 result, this time against the Portland Timbers.

CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy continued to put points on the scoreboard, extending the club’s streak of scoring at least two goals or more to five matches, but the Galaxy continue to concede at a similar rate, as the club has now allowed two goals or more in the last five outings.

After a 3-3 draw against the Portland Timbers, the Galaxy (8-11-11) now sit six points outside of the postseason picture, with four matches remaining against Seattle, Minnesota, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas, respectively.

“We have two on the road now which are going to be really difficult. You’ve got to go on the road and we’ve got to take points at the end of the day, at this point, we’ve got to set ourselves up with the last home game against Dallas,” Vanney said about his club’s remaining schedule.

The Galaxy conceded early against Portland, after a goal from Santiago Moreno put the visitors ahead 1-0 early in the opening minutes of the game.

LA wouldn’t take very long to respond as defender Eric Zavaleta scored his first goal in a Galaxy uniform and his first MLS goal since 2017 to even the score at 1. He would be involved in two goals that followed, the only problem was the one of them was for the other team.

Zavaleta was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the ball deflected off his chest and into the back of the net, putting the Galaxy in a 2-1 deficit in the 38th.

“I think that’s the second one of those in probably three games that is deflected and found its way over the goalkeeper or past the goalkeeper,” Vanney said.

Zavaleta clarified afterwards, that the backline is not at fault for all goals.

“I think sometimes we put ourselves in a bad situations with the ball and give ourselves difficult situations to deal with,” Zavaleta said. “players and teams in this league are waiting for those moments that are very good to punish you. And I think the first two goals were emblematic of that.”

“This is not a backline issue. If you’re watching these games, if you’ve turned balls over in front of the backline you can’t just point to the backline and say, ‘Hey, this is your problem.’ It’s just it’s not right. It’s not fair. It’s not football,” Zavaleta added.

The Galaxy weren’t done scoring in the first half though, as Douglas Costa, who assisted the first two, scored his first goal of the season to tie it at 2, just before stoppage time.

Just before halftime, Zavaleta was able to redeem himself and knock in his second header of the match, which gave the Galaxy the lead, 3-2.

After the break, the Galaxy played with a more defensive approach, which kept LA for about a half hour, until the Timbers scored again.

Just after the 75th minute, Portland’s captain, Felipe Mora, evened the score for the visitors once again, 3-3.

The score would remain there at the end of regulation and the Galaxy felt as if the team let another opportunity slip due to lack of cohesion.

“This is something we talked about before the game we talked about after the game 11 Guys, attack 11 Guys defend. I’m a defender and I scored two goals tonight. Does that mean our attack was on fire tonight? Maybe not necessarily,” Zavaleta said.

With four games left and the Galaxy six points out of the playoff picture, Vanney still believes this team can make it to the postseason, but knows what he needs to see from his club down the final stretch.

“it’s very difficult to win games giving up four goals.” Vanney said. “The margins are really fine for us right now. But there’s still a chance that everybody’s going to keep battling and we’ll try to close our gaps as much as we can and push for it.”

Next, the Galaxy will travel up to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Sounders, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.