Galaxy-Timbers Preview

The Associated Press

Already winless in the first half of a lengthy road stretch, the Los Angeles Galaxy will have the added challenge of playing without their top defender.

Omar Gonzalez is expected to sit out Sunday's game against Portland with an injured left knee, and the Timbers will try to take advantage of his absence on the backline while attempting to build on their first win of the season.

Los Angeles (2-2-2) is 0-1-1 so far in its four consecutive games away from home and had a four-game unbeaten streak snapped last weekend with a 1-0 loss to Colorado. Gonzalez exited that game at halftime.

"(He has) just a little tweak on his (left) knee," coach Bruce Arena told the team's website.

Gonzalez was expected to leave next week for the start of the U.S. World Cup squad's training camp at Stanford University and not slated to return until early July. Kofi Opare will likely take his spot in the lineup this week and try to help Los Angeles earn its first win away from the StubHub Center.

The Galaxy beat last-place Chivas USA 3-0 on April 6 in what was considered a road game. They're 0-1-2 outside that arena and have lost their last two games in Portland.

Los Angeles went 0-2-1 in last season's series but will face a Timbers squad that just ended its worst start in franchise history. Portland was 0-3-5 before a 3-2 victory against D.C. United last weekend.

Maximiliano Urruti scored the tiebreaking goal in stoppage time for the Timbers, who totaled nine in their first eight games. Gaston Fernandez recorded his second goal in as many games in the opening minute while Mamadou Danso accomplished the rare feat of recording a goal and a tying own goal, in the 78th minute.

"It's three points, but sometimes it feels like more, and I think this is one that feels like more," coach Caleb Porter said. "I think they'll play freer, more confident. I think we'll continue to get better and better. We've been playing well, but I think sometimes when you feel that weight of that pressure because you're not getting the results, you get frustrated. This will definitely unlock us."

Urruti scored in the most recent meeting between the teams, a 1-0 victory Sept. 29. The Timbers needed a stoppage-time goal for a 2-1 home victory July 13.

Los Angeles was 4-1-0 against the Timbers before last season, and Landon Donovan had four goals and three assists in those games. Marcelo Sarvas scored the Galaxy's lone goal in last season's series.

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