LA Galaxy 2, Portland Timbers 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
The Portland Timbers made them sweat right up until the very end. But the LA Galaxy held their nerve to claim a 2-1 win in both teams' 2018 season opener at StubHub Center on Sunday night, thanks to a flurry of two goals in three first-half minutes.
Prized offseason acquisition Ola Kamara opened the scoring for LA, and Romain Alessandrini doubled the advantage mere moments later with a point-blank finish of his own rebound that was short on aesthetics but long on persistence. The Frenchman's strong outing was cut short by what appeared to be a hamstring injury, though, portending a spell on the sidelines for the influential Designated Player.
After the break, the Galaxy struggled to maintain the tenacious pressing and tempo they established in the first 45 minutes and Portland's Sebastian Blanco eventually made them pay with an angled strike through the legs of goalkeeper David Bingham. The equalizer never materialized despite some sustained Timbers pressure, however, handing new coach Giovanni Savarese a loss in his MLS coaching debut.
- 32' - LA - Ola Kamara | WATCH
- 34' - LA - Romain Alessandrini | WATCH
- 66' - POR - Sebastian Blanco | WATCH
- The Big Picture: It was a promising curtain-raiser for the rebuilt Galaxy, who pushed the tempo on both sides of the ball after weathering a rocky opening to the match. For his part, Savarese will find useful takeaways from the loss, as his team competed well on the road despite several defensive breakdowns.
- Moment of the Match: They say the most dangerous periods in any match are the minutes immediately following a goal, and so it proved for Portland as Alessandrini exploited their hesitance in the aftermath of Kamara drawing first blood.
- Man of the Match: Ola Kamara. The winter arrival from Columbus Crew SC looks like the missing ingredient for LA, providing intelligence, tenacity and sharp finishing in the No. 9 role.
- LA: Sunday, Mar. 11 at NYCFC (5 pm ET | MLS LIVE)
- POR: Saturday, Mar. 10 at New York Red Bulls (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE)