PORTLAND — Go figure.
The Portland Timbers didn’t have their team captain. Then they lost a starting forward to a concussion — in warmups.
So, naturally, Portland went out on Wednesday and took it to the hottest team in Major League Soccer, getting goals from two defenders in a 3-0 triumph over the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Mike Chabala, Jorge Perlaza and Eric Brunner scored the goals, and the high-powered Galaxy generated few quality scoring chances.
In ending the Galaxy’s 14-match unbeaten string, the Timbers seemed to rediscover the early-season Jeld-Wen Field magic. They won in front of the 18,627 Timbers faithful for the first time since May 21, a stretch of six home games.
The scoreline reflected the Timbers’ performance. Portland outshot Los Angeles 15-8, including 9-0 in the first half. The Galaxy managed one shot on goal all night.
“We were dominated; we were beat,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “I don’t think there’s any sophisticated analysis.”
The Timbers played with confidence even though captain Jack Jewsbury sat out with a hamstring injury and forward Eddie Johnson was scratched from the starting lineup because of a concussion suffered during warm-ups.
“I think we showed a massive amount of character tonight,” Portland coach John Spencer said, complimenting his team on the way it responded after Saturday’s disappointing draw with Toronto F.C.
The first goal came in the 26th minute at the end of some patient Portland play in the attacking third.
Defender Mike Chabala scored it, striking the ball from just inside the penalty area off a feed from Darlington Nagbe.
The play started with Nagbe and Chabala exchanging passes near the left sideline. Nagbe eventually drifted to the inside, Chabala sent a pass down the left edge of the penalty area and Nagbe collected it near the goal line.
His diagonal return pass connected with Chabala, whose one-timer curled beyond the reach of goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
It was the first goal of the season for Chabala, the left back who came to Portland two weeks ago in a trade with Houston. It was the first assist of Nagbe’s professional career.
The second Portland goal, in the 33rd minute, was opportunistic. Cooper controled a left wing throw-in with his chest and dropped a pass to Diego Chara.
Chara then directed the ball to his right, and into an open area right at the center of the 18-yard box. Jorge Perlaza ran past defender A.J. DeLaGarza and beat Saunders with a low drive.
Portland had a 2-0 halftime lead. But, after watching a 2-0 lead turn into a 2-2 draw last Saturday, this seemed far from decided.
“Obviously in the back of your mind you’re thinking ‘Oh no, here we go again. Can we keep (the lead),’” goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. “We came in at halftime and every person said the same thing: ‘It’s 0-0 now. We’ve got to go out and win it again.’”
The critical third goal, in the 68th minute, also was generated by some controlled attacking play by Nagbe and Chabala on the left wing that earned a corned kick. Eric Brunner cashed in with an emphatic header off of Sal Zizzo’s cross.
“We put in a good work shift tonight, and we were rewarded,” Brunner said.
Los Angeles played its stars, with Landon Donovan and David Beckham going the distance.
Both said the Galaxy got what they deserved.
“If you aren’t ready to play in this league, you’re going to get beat,” Donovan said.
Beckham said Los Angeles was out-worked and outplayed by Portland.
“They looked like a good team,” Beckham said of the Timbers. “They looked like a team that was passionate about winning.”
Beckham served up several quality crosses, including one that Donovan nearly got to the end of in the opening minute of the second half. But Perkins was able to handle Beckam’s service, and his only required saved was on a 70th minute shot from Juninho.
“I think we really made it tough for them to play early on,” Perkins said. “They couldn’t find their rhythm, and (were) forced to play long balls. On that surface, and with the guys that we had matched up was to our advantage.”
• James Marcelin replaced Jewsbury in the holding midfield position. Jewsbury was ruled out after a Wednesday morning fitness test on his hamstring.
• Johnson was slated to start, but was hit in the head with a ball during warmups and was ruled out at the last minute. Kenny Cooper replaced Johnson and contributed six shots and an assist in what Spencer called Cooper’s his best match as a Timber.