While the Los Angeles Galaxy picked up where they left off in MLS play before the World Cup break, the Portland Timbers resumed league action with a disappointing result.
Looking to extend their league unbeaten stretch to six matches, the Galaxy try to end a four-game winless funk against the visiting Timbers on Friday night.
Los Angeles (5-3-5), which was eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup during the three-week hiatus, winning 1-0 at San Jose on Saturday. Gyasi Zardes scored for the second time in as many games and Jaime Penedo recorded his second shutout.
"I think, overall, this was our best effort as a team, our concentration over 90 minutes," coach Bruce Arena told MLS' official website. "This is a game that I think we deserve to win, and we've been certainly pushing our group to try to be able to perform like this.
"It's only the 13th game this season, so we're not ready to have a parade in downtown L.A. We'll see if we can keep going."
The Galaxy have allowed four goals during their 3-0-2 run, their longest unbeaten stretch since 2012. They're also 3-0-1 in their last four at home, outscoring foes 8-3.
Though things are looking up for Los Angeles, it's been held to two goals during its 0-2-2 stretch against the Timbers (4-5-8). These Western Conference rivals played to a 1-all draw in Portland on May 11, with Robbie Keane and Diego Valeri trading goals in second-half stoppage time.
The Timbers had scored 15 goals in their previous six MLS games before the break before coming up empty last Friday in a 1-0 defeat to Sporting Kansas City. Portland failed to defeat Sporting for the second time in a four-day span after a 3-1 victory at Kansas City on June 24 to reach the Open Cup quarterfinals.
Portland controlled possession for most of the game - 66.9 percent to 33.1 percent - but failed to convert any of its three shots on goal.
"In terms of flow, I thought we deserved better," coach Caleb Porter. "But at the end of the day, we didn't get it done. Plain and simple."
It was the 12th time the Timbers have trailed in their 17 matches, falling to 2-4-6 in such games.
"I think we've relied too much on having to chase a game," Porter said. "We've relied too much on having to pull out a goal late. I think this was a game that finally it cost us. Sometimes you need to get punished to realize you need to change something."
Portland, which entered the year with seven road wins in franchise history and started 0-3-1 there this season, has won a team-record three straight away from home by a 7-2 margin. The Timbers, though, have been outscored 7-1 in going 0-3-1 all-time in Los Angeles and have not scored there in 247 minutes.
Getting on the board could again prove difficult against a Galaxy team allowing a league-low 0.85 goals per game.
Timbers goalie Donovan Ricketts has allowed three goals in going 2-0-3 with two shutouts against Los Angeles, his former team.
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