Timbers Match Day: Los Angeles at Timbers

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

Published:

 

Los Angeles at Timbers

When/where: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV: Live on ESPN2 (Comcast cable channels 36 and 736).

Radio: AM 750/FM 101 (AM 940 Spanish broadcast).

Records: Los Angeles is 12-2-9, first in the West. Portland is 6-10-4, eighth in the West.

Why to watch: The Galaxy are the league’s marquee club. In addition to their star power, they are playing the best soccer in MLS.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Portland Timbers

Forward: Eddie Johnson.

Midfielders: Kalif Alhassan, Sal Zizzo, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe.

Defenders: Mike Chabala, Eric Brunner, David Horst, Lovel Palmer.

Goalkeeper: Troy Perkins.

Key alternatives: F Kenny Cooper, F Jorge Perlaza, M James Marcelin, D Rodney Wallace, D Mamadou “Futty” Danso, D-MF Jeremy Hall, GK Adin Brown.

L.A. Galaxy

Forwards: Mike Magee, Juan Pablo Angel.

Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Juninho, David Beckham, Sean Franklin.

Defenders: Todd Dunivant, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza.

Goalkeeper: Josh Saunders.

THE MATCHUP

Will the starts shine? Both David Beckham and Landon Donovan have been dealing with minor injuries, and Los Angeles has a key game Saturday against F.C. Dallas. On the other hand, it helps MLS for its stars to play in nationally-televised games.

Defensive strength: The Galaxy has allowed 16 goals through 23 matches, the league’s best defensive average.

Mind games?: How will the Timbers respond if L.A. scores an early goal? The Timbers are one of the least experienced teams in the league and have lacked mental toughness, especially late in matches.

Spencer says: “Being an ex-player, the last thing I want to hear is how good this team is going to be and how they can do this, that and the other thing to you. You’ve got to try and focus on what we can do. I think at times we’ve proved we can play football with the best teams in the country. We just need to be sure we play mistake-free football.”

NOTABLE

• Saunders homecoming: L.A. goalkeeper Josh Saunders played four seasons with the Timbers at the Division 2 level (2003-2006). Saunders is playing because No. 1 GK Donovan Ricketts has a broken arm.

• Injury report: Timbers — Out: DF Kevin Goldthwaite (knee ACL rupture); FW Spencer Thompson (knee); Probable: FW Bright Dike (Achille rupture); DF Jeremy Hall (groin soreness); GK Troy Perkins (R hip soreness); FW Jorge Perlaza (R calf strain). Galaxy —Out: DF Sean Alvarado (knee surgery); DF Leonardo (knee surgery); GK Donovan Ricketts (ulna fracture); Questionable: FW Chad Barrett (knee sprain); MF David Beckham (back spasms); MF Jovan Kirovski (ankle sprain); Probable: DF Omar Gonzalez (nose fracture).

FAN GUIDE

Tickets: Sold out. Gates open: 90 minutes before kickoff.

Getting there: Parking is extremely limited near the stadium. MAX light rail runs extra trains on match days.

Radio: 750 AM has one-hour pregame and postgame shows.

Don't Do Stupid Stuff Mugs