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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Feb. 29, 2024

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Timbers, Galaxy set to square off

Ridgewell to miss match, All-Star Game due to calf injury

By , Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

Two of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer mix it up on Saturday afternoon at Providence Park.

The L.A. Galaxy enter the 12:30 p.m. match against the Portland Timbers winners of three consecutive league matches — each by shutout. Portland carries a nine-match unbeaten string into the game, which will be carried live by ESPN.

Timbers center back Liam Ridgewell will miss the match with a calf injury. He felt tightness following Sunday’s match with Seattle and was unable to practice this week, according to coach Caleb Porter.

Ridgewell will also miss the MLS All-Star Game. Porter said that Ridgewell’s recovery window is seven to 10 days, so he might be ready for Portland’s July 31 match at Sporting Kansas City. Jermaine Taylor is expected to start alongside Nat Borchers with Zarek Valentin playing left back.

Midfielder Jack Jewsbury, who rolled his ankle against Seattle, is also out for Saturday. Ben Zemanski will likely get the start in midfield.

The Timbers (7-6-8, 29 points) are coming off a 3-1 win on Sunday over rival Seattle that lifted them into sixth place in the Western Conference, above the cutoff line for the playoffs.

The Galaxy (8-3-8, 32 points) sit third in the West. They have won five consecutive matches (three in league play), four of those shutouts, and are unbeaten in seven across all competitions. The streak includes wins over Portland and Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup tournament. They beat the Timbers 1-0 in the round-of-16 on June 29, then rallied to beat Seattle 4-2 on Wednesday.

Most Galaxy starters rested on Wednesday. Giovanni dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes entered in the 74th minute with Seattle leading 2-1. Dos Santos, who leads the Galaxy with seven MLS goals this season, scored the tying goal moments later off a Seattle giveaway, and Sebastian Lleget scored two late goals.

Veteran midfielder Steven Gerard leads L.A. with seven assists, but his status for this match was uncertain because of an injury. Also unknown is the health of defender Ashley Cole, who has missed three consecutive matches with a hamstring injury.

The Timbers are 3-1-2 in six MLS regular-season home matches against Los Angeles. This is the last regular-season match for Portland this season against the Galaxy. The teams played to a 1-1 draw on April 10 in Carson, Calif.

With his two goals against Seattle last week, Portland midfielder Diego Valeri has scored nine times this season. Fanendo Adi leads the Timbers with 10 goals.

This is the last of three consecutive home matches for Portland. The Timbers visit Sporting Kansas City on July 31, then open CONCACAF Champions League play on Aug. 3 by hosting CD Dragon of El Salvador.

Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter