Christian Paredes gave himself a late birthday gift with his first MLS goal and Samuel Armenteros put home the game-winner as the Portland Timbers won their fifth consecutive match with a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles FC on Saturday at Providence Park.
The clubs battled to a draw in an evenly matched first half that may ultimately prove costly for the Timbers. Defender Liam Ridgewell, who was making his fourth consecutive start for Portland, came up lame on what looked like a fairly routine play and left the game in the 6th minute with a right leg injury. The Timbers had not conceded a goal since his return to the lineup.
There were plenty of chances in the first half, 15 shots total with 10 coming from the Timbers, but Portland kept very compact in midfield, slowing play somewhat and making it difficult for LAFC to attack up the middle.
Although the Timbers dominated the shots in the first half, LAFC controlled the ball nearly 60 percent of the time, and Latif Blessing missed an open net wide right off a pass from Carlos Vela in the 30th minute.
As first half injury time drew to a close, LAFC got some beautiful chances during a scramble in the box, but shots by Diego Rossi and Dejan Jakovic were blocked.
The half ended with a great opportunity for Portland’s Diego Valeri, but Tyler Miller made the stop to keep the score 0-0.
The Timbers came out attacking in the second half, and they were rewarded after a couple of missed chances by Fanendo Adi when Paredes put back a rebound from Miller to give Portland a lead.
LAFC got the equalizer in the 74th minute when Carlos Vela curled a shot over Jeff Attinella to make the game 1-1, alleviating the pressure LAFC had been under for most of the second half.
Armenteros struck on the counter attack in the 81st minute after Diego Rossi’s shot was saved, coming in alone on Miller and putting home a glorious strike to give the Timbers the final margin, catapulting the club into third place in the Western Conference and keeping it undefeated at home.
—Field Level Media