Timbers at L.A. Galaxy
Kickoff: 8 p.m. Friday at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
TV: NBCSN, cable ch. 32.
Radio: 750 AM.
Timbers (4-5-8, 20 points): Portland and Los Angeles are tied with 20 points, which isn’t good for the Timbers because they have played four more games than have the Galaxy.
Portland’s defense, its trouble spot through the first 17 games, will be without center backs Pa Modou Kah and Norberto Paparatto for this match because of injuries. Also expected to miss this game because of injuries are forward Maximiliano Urruti, winger Steve Zakuani and midfielder Ben Zemanski.
In a flip from their first three seasons in MLS, the Timbers have been better this season on the road (3-3-1 than at home (1-2-7), a trend that will need to continue if Portland is to make a push in the second half of the season when 10 of its 17 MLS games are away from Providence Park. The Timbers, who lost their first three road games this season, have won three consecutive MLS road games and also won in the U.S. Open Cup at Kansas City. The Timbers are proving the soccer axiom that the first goal in a match is the most important. Opponents have scored first in 12 of Portland’s 17 matches this season and the Timbers are 2-4-6 in those games compared with 2-1-2 in when they score the first goal.
Galaxy (5-3-5, 20 points): Los Angeles is unbeaten in its last five games (three wins, two ties) despite the absence of defender Omar Gonzalez for the World Cup. Third-year defender Tommy Meyer has filled in well in the middle of the back line, and was named to the MLS team of the week for his work in the Galaxy’s 1-0 win over San Jose last weekend in front of 50,000 fans at Stanford Stadium. Gonzalez is not expected to play on Friday after playing the 120 minutes in the United States loss to Belgium on Tuesday in Brazil. While missing out on the World Cup, Landon Donovan became the all-time MLS career goals leader (with 137) when he scored twice in a May 25 win over Philadelphia. He has three goals in 11 MLS appearances this season. Robbie Keane has a Galaxy best seven goals this season, including a tap-in that briefly gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in its May 11 visit to Portland before a Diego Valeri goal rescued a draw for the Timbers. Gyasi Zardes scored his third goal of the season to provide the win at San Jose.