PORTLAND — The first Portland Timbers game post John Spencer featured a quick goal from Kris Boyd and the Major League Soccer debut of Camas resident Brent Richards.
But the most memorable scenes from a high-scoring show on Saturday night at Jeld-Wen Field were provided by soccer royalty.
Two bits of precision from David Beckham sparked a first-half spree that earned the Los Angeles Galaxy a 5-3 win in a match that both entertained and exasperated the sellout crowd of 20,438.
The result was the third consecutive road win for the Galaxy (8-10-2, 26 points), who won all three games this season against the Timbers (5-9-4, 19 points).
Richards called his MLS debut bittersweet.
“It’s a big step for me. It would have been nice to get a win and to get a goal possibly, but it’s a step,” Richards said. “I hope I’m going in the right direction. Getting those first minutes is a big thing for me.”
The Galaxy scored four goals in a span of 10 minutes, as their stars ravaged the Timbers backline.
David Beckham delivered two memorable goals from distance, and Landon Donovan converted a penalty kick and set up a tap-in finish for Robbie Keane as the visitors turned an early 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 first-half lead.
Beckham scored in the 19th and 24th minutes to give Los Angeles a lead. His first goal came from more than 30-yards as he, Donovan and Keane worked a triangle of one-touch passes giving Beckham space for the kind of shot that made him famous.
Gavin Wilkinson, the general manager turned interim coach, took the blame for the defensive breakdowns, pointing to that goal as evidence that he didn’t do a good enough job clarifying assignments.
Five minutes later Beckham worked more magic, driving a free kick from 25 yards out just over the defensive wall and inside the left post.
Playing with added bounce, the Galaxy quickly cashed in on a pair of Portland mistakes to make it 4-1. Donovan’s penalty kick came in the 27th minute, after Portland’s Kosuke Kimura was called for a foul inside the penalty area.
In the 28th minute, Donovan broke free down the right sideline and delivered a low cross that Keane tapped in for a three-goal L.A. advantage.
Kris Boyd’s goal in the third minute of play was the kind of finish the Scottish striker was brought to Portland to deliver. It came from the kind of cross that former coach Spencer often said Boyd would cash in, as Kalif Alhassan sent in a cross from the right wing that Boyd smashed inside the near post.
The second Portland goal came in the 34th minute. Right back Kimura pounced on a rebound when L.A. goalkeeper Josh Sauders bobbled a Timbers’ free kick.
It was a roller-coaster home debut for Kimura, who came to Portland in a trade from Colorado 10 days ago. Kimura blamed himself for the penalty kick and the foul that led to Beckham’s second goal.
“I was sleeping for one second. I let them have those chances,” Kimura said. I killed myself. I killed my teammates.”
Scoring a goal provided some redemption, Kimura said.
“I had to do something right away,” he said, adding that overcoming mistakes is “one of the toughest things to do in the game. But as a pro you have to do it.”
Richards made his professional debut at the start of the second half, replacing midfielder Lovel Palmer. Almost immediately, he found himself marking Donovan on a pair of Galaxy corner kicks.
On the attacking end, Richards made his presence felt by lurking at the far post on a series of crosses that earned Timbers corner kicks.
Both teams had great chances to score early in the second half. Among them was brave slide by Saunders that denied Portland’s Darlington Nagbe one on one. For L.A. — on a play the resembled the shootouts of the 1980s North American Soccer League — Donovan pushed a breakaway wide with Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins rushing out.
It became 5-2 in the 64th minute when Sean Franklin got behind Richards on a pass from Beckham, setting up a second tap-in goal for Keane.
Boyd scored his second goal of the night with a free kick from distance in the 70th minute, pumping aq bit more hope into the chants from the Timbers Army.
Portland kept pushing, forcing Saunders to work to the final whistle. But on this night the Timbers couldn’t match the magic of L.A.’s big name players.
GALAXY 5, TIMBERS 3
Los Angeles 4 1–5
Portland 2 1–3
First half–1, Portland, Boyd 6 (Alhassan), 3rd minute. 2, Los Angeles, Beckham 4 (Keane), 20th. 3, Los Angeles, Beckham 5, 24th. 4, Los Angeles, Donovan 7 (penalty kick), 26th. 5, Los Angeles, Keane 7 (Donovan), 28th. 6, Portland, Kimura 2, 35th.
Second half–7, Los Angeles, Keane 8 (Franklin), 64th. 8, Portland, Boyd 7, 70th.
Goalies–Los Angeles, Josh Saunders; Portland, Troy Perkins.
Yellow Cards–Alexander, Portland, 73rd.
Referee–Baldomero Toledo. Assistant Referees–Frank Anderson. Kermit Quisenberry. 4th Official–Tyler Ploeger.
Los Angeles–Josh Saunders, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin, David Junior Lopes, A.J. DeLaGarza, Marcelo Sarvas, Hector Jimenez (Bryan Jordan, 63rd), Michael Stephens, David Beckham (Bryan Gaul, 82nd), Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane (Jose Villarreal, 90th+).
Portland–Troy Perkins, Kosuke Kimura, David Horst, Hanyer Mosquera, Lovel Palmer (Brent Richards, 46th), Steven Smith, Kalif Alhassan (Danny Mwanga, 69th), Eric Alexander, Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo, 90th), Jack Jewsbury, Kris Boyd.