Galaxy, Timbers out to get seasons on track

Mar 4, 2023; Frisco, Texas, USA;  Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig (6) celebrates with Los Angeles Galaxy defender Kelvin Leerdam (18) after scoring a goal during the first half against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s quest for their first victory of the season continues on Saturday when they visit the Portland Timbers.

The Galaxy (0-1-2, 2 points) have sputtered out of the blocks with a loss and two draws.

Defender Kelvin Leerdam scored in first-half stoppage time for his first MLS goal since 2020, helping Los Angeles salvage a 1-1 draw versus the Vancouver Whitecaps last Saturday.

Galaxy coach Greg Vanney was quick to note that the team is missing star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, the team’s leading scorer the past two seasons. Midfielder Douglas Costa sat out the first three games due to injury as well.

“We’re going through our phase of a couple of big injuries along with some guys that we’re still trying to get into the doors and get integrated into the group,” Vanney said. “It’s a process of keep getting better every game and take points along the way.”

Like Los Angeles, Portland (1-3-0, 3 points) isn’t singing a pretty tune after following a season-opening win with three straight losses.

Second-half substitute Tega Ikoba scored in his season debut last Saturday, accounting for the short-handed Timbers’ lone bright spot in a 5-1 shellacking at the hands of Atlanta United. Ikoba, 19, became the youngest goal scorer in the franchise’s MLS history.

“I will assume the responsibility of this defeat,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We need to be a better team. I know that it’s difficult when you’re missing so many players. Many people could just blame it on that, on so many players we don’t have. Which is a reality. But we cannot hide on that and just say that (the) result was because we didn’t have enough players. We had enough players to still compete.”

The Timbers are 0-3-1 in their last four matches against the Galaxy. Los Angeles recorded a 3-1 win over host Portland on April 3 before the teams settled for a 1-1 draw on June 18 in California.

–Field Level Media

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