Galaxy Week in Review: LA Earns Consecutive Wins Against Timbers & Rapids

April 25, 2012

The Galaxy's title defense began with a tough 1-3 start to the season, but in the last two games Los Angeles has earned consecutive wins, improving to .500 and climbing to middle of the Western Conference standings.

On April 14th, the Galaxy faced off against the Portland Timbers at the Home Depot Center, and immediately began the game with much greater energy and drive than in previous games, winning loose balls and being the aggressors.

Although this game marked the debut of newly-acquired defender David Lopes, the Galaxy's defense resorted to its early-season mediocrity in the 23rd minute when Portland's Kris Boyd received a pass that left him one-on-one with Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders.  Boyd promptly slid the ball past a diving Saunders for a 1-0 lead.

Boyd clearly appeared offside on the play, but the officials failed to make the call.

Minutes later, Boyd received a pass in the 18-yard box that he beautifully heel-flicked to himself and then shot on goal, finding the back of the net. However, the officials called Boyd offside when in fact he appeared onside. Perhaps a make-up call by the official.

With their season somewhat hanging in the balance, the defending MLS champions stayed composed and fought back.

After minutes of steady offensive attack, the Galaxy evened the game in the 44th minute when Robbie Keane outsmarted his defender, dribbled into the 18-yard box, and passed to Landon Donovan, who then laced the ball with precision past the Timbers goalkeeper for a 1-1 tie.

The two teams battled in the second half and it appeared that the game would end in a tie, until Juninho and Beckham sent the crowd into a frenzy.

In the 83rd minute, Juninho decided to take a gutsy shot from 25 yards out that found the near post past a diving Portland goalkeeper.

Then in stoppage time, Beckham gave the fans a goal-of-the-year candidate when he took an unbelievable shot from 25 yards out that found the top corner of the net in typical Beckham fashion for a 3-1 win.

Following the victory, a jubilant Galaxy team appeared to be full of new life in the locker room and expressed their desire to take on their next challenge.

That next challenge was this past Saturday night in Colorado, where LA took on the Rapids.

The Galaxy were on the attack throughout the game and would get a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute when Beckham crossed the ball into Mike Magee on a free-kick. As Magee headed the ball to his teammates near the goal, the Rapids were unable to deal with the pass, resulting in an own-goal.

The Galaxy were the better team on the night, and they would prove it again in the 37th minute when Keane made a quality lead pass to a streaking Donovan who shot past the Rapids goalkeeper with his left foot and found goal for a 2-0 Galaxy lead.

The Rapids would fight back with a goal in the 63rd minute when Omar Cummings beat David Lopes and fired an unstoppable shot between two Galaxy defenders and past Saunders, bringing Colorado within one goal.

However, the story of the night happened in the 90th minute when head referee Ramon Hernandez made an absolutely atrocious penalty kick call against David Lopes for contact against a flopping Rapids player that did not actually occur.

Hernandez confusingly gave Lopes a only yellow card, and awarded the Rapids a penalty kick with a chance -- clearly undeserved -- to tie the game.

With the game and perhaps the season on the line, Saunders saved the penalty kick with a great effort, giving the Galaxy a 2-1 road win after Hernandez's awful call.

As the saying goes, once a champion always a champion.

After the win in Colorado, the Galaxy are now 3-3 on the season and will look to continue their revived spirit and collective play on the pitch, as they face FC Dallas at the Home Depot Center this weekend.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for The Daily Sports Herald

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