New on Sports Illustrated: Galaxy-Timbers Preview

September 01, 2020 at 04:18AM

The resumption of the MLS regular season has been good to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Though there is plenty of work to be done, the visiting Galaxy aim for a third straight victory on Wednesday night against the Portland Timbers.

It took some time, but Los Angeles (2-3-2) might finally have found a rhythm during this unprecedented 2020 season. The Galaxy drew and lost their first two matches before the coronavirus pandemic halted the campaign in March. Things did not get any better at the "MLS is Back Tournament," where L.A. went 0-2-1 in group play and failed to advance into the knockout round.

That included a 2-1 loss to Portland at the Walt Disney World Sports Complex.

However, since then, the Galaxy won 2-0 at rival Los Angeles FC and 3-2 over San Jose at home over the weekend. In the latter, Cristian Pavon leveled the match with a successful penalty kick in the 72nd minute and Sebastian Lletget's goal proved to be the winner on 82 minutes.

"(At the "MIBT") as the games went on, we felt better," Pavon, who has scored four of Los Angeles' 10 goals this season, told the club's official website. "It think we're enjoying the moment right now."

That's great for the Galaxy's collective confidence, but another serious test awaits at Portland on Wednesday. Sebastian Blanco recorded a goal and assist in the victory over Los Angeles in Florida last month. Jeremy Ebobisse also scored for the Timbers, who won the "MLS is Back Tournament" with three consecutive victories.

However, since returning to regular-season action, Portland lost 3-0 to rival Seattle and played Real Salt Lake to a 4-4 draw over the weekend. Blanco (four goals with six assists in 2020) had a goal with an assist in the latter, which was severely frustrating considering the Timbers allowed two scores in stoppage time to blow a two-goal lead and seemingly an easy three points.

"It's a mental lapse that we just gave the game away in the last four minutes, and it has to be much better," manager Giovanni Savarese told the Timbers' official website. "When you score four goals you should win, at home especially. To give up the points, to tie 4-4, especially allowing them to score two goals in the last four minutes. It's not good enough.

"The mentality of the group has been very, very good. The guys are working hard, but we cannot have lapses at the end that allow (a team) to score two goals."

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