Cristian Pavón scores twice in Galaxy’s loss to Timbers
Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored a pair of first-half goals and the Portland Timbers clinched a spot in the playoffs with a 5-2 victory over the Galaxy on Wednesday night.
It is the fourth straight season that the Timbers (10-5-5) have made the postseason.
“It’s obvious that it was our goal, not only to play in the playoffs — we want to do something more this year,” Niezgoda said. “I know we can do something more because we have the potential, we have the quality.”
Cristian Pavon scored twice for the Galaxy (5-11-3), who have lost eight of their past nine games and are sitting in last place in the Western Conference.
The Timbers, who won the MLS is Back tournament over the summer in Florida, were coming off a 1-1 draw with Cascadia Cup rival Seattle last week, conceding a goal in stoppage time for the second straight match.
“We always feel that we can work more and be better. I think that is the reason why this group has done so well, and we have to continue to move forward,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We had a great performance today. And now we have to make sure that we prepare for the next one and try to replicate, get in the game, and try to get another three points.”
The Timbers went up early on Niezgoda’s header to the far post in the sixth minute. He got his second in the 19th, giving him seven goals on the season. Portland captain Diego Valeri added a penalty kick in the 30th minute.
“Unacceptable start,” Galaxy midfielder Perry Kitchen said. “It’s just not good enough from us.”
The Galaxy closed the gap to 3-1 with Pavon’s first goal less than a minute into the second half.
But then Eryk Williamson scored in the 60th minute and Andy Polo’s stunning volley in the 74th padded Portland’s lead. Yimmi Chara finished with three assists.
Pavon added his second in stoppage time, giving him nine goals this season.
Portland was without top scorer Jeremy Ebobisse for the second consecutive game because of a concussion. Meanwhile, the Galaxy were without forward Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez, who has a hamstring issue and announced on Instagram earlier that he wasn’t playing.
The Galaxy were coming off a 2-0 loss at LAFC last weekend. Center back Giancarlo Gonzalez received a red card during the match and wasn’t available against Portland.
The Galaxy have three games left in the regular season.
“We have to find hope. We have to show pride. This club deserves a lot better than we’re giving it right now,“ Kitchen said. “There’s still a chance. Might be slim, but we have to go out and put our best foot forward and be a lot better than we were tonight.”
It was the fourth meeting this season between the teams. The Timbers won the previous one 6-3 at Dignity Health Sports Park for the first victory by a road team in the series since 2017.
The Galaxy haven’t won in Portland since 2016.
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