It’s been an average to below-average season for Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy, and they are in desperate need of a result when they host Caleb Porter’s red-hot Portland Timbers at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. A win this Wednesday would do wonders for the struggling Galaxy, while a victory for the Timbers will be a strong indication that they mean business this year.
Jun 8, 2013; Sandy, UT, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan (10) takes a shot during the first half against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles come into the contest with a record of 6-6-2 (20 points) and a fifth-place standing in the MLS Western Conference. As for Portland, they are 5-1-8 (23 points) and are third in the West. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes.
Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. the Portland Timbers at the StubHub Center.
1. Landon Donovan strikes again
This is the point in the season where Landon Donovan needs to find his form so that he can rejoin the USA Men’s National Team late in their FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign. Donovan will get a goal and perhaps and assist in this match.
2. Los Angeles dominate a number of match statistics
If you are going to get a statement win, you need to make the stats reflect the scoreline. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Galaxy will dominate attempts on goal, shots on target, open play crosses, passing accuracy, possession and duals won.
3. Gyasi Zardes with the breakthrough
This has been the year of Gyasi Zardes’s quest to break through and be a factor this season. Zardes will score at least a goal and great some space for a variety of chances on goal.
4. Carlo Cudicini with at least four saves
May 12, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri (8) blows kisses to the Timbers Army after scoring a goal during the second half against Chivas USA at Jeld-Wen Field. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
The goalkeeper position has been a major issue this year for the Galaxy, but they will have to make do with what they have so far. Goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini will make at least four saves to help Los Angeles’s cause.
5. Diego Valeri: a man on a mission
This season, Diego Valeri has been stellar for the Timbers, with four goals and assists each. Valeri will be on goal again to lead Portland.
6. Donovan Ricketts with at least five saves
The Big Cat from Montego Bay, Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Rickets, knows this Galaxy team inside and out, but may be tested by the new blood coming in. Ricketts faces a massive white and blue firing squad and will need to bring his A-game on Wednesday. At least five saves will be made.
7. Robbie Keane’s return is glorious
By now, you all know that this Galaxy team lives and dies on the foot of Robbie Keane. To an extent at least. But with Keane back in the lineup, it’s time for the captain to make his presence felt and deliver a brace for the home fans. Keane will deliver in the first half and set the tone for the remainder of the contest.
8. Juninho shoulders the load in the middle
With Marcelo Sarvas suspended for this match, it is up to Juninho to be a difference maker in the midfield. Juninho will get at least two assists against the Timbers.
9. At least 20 fouls, over three yellows
This is a very high-energy, very physical encounter that fans will get to witness this Wednesday, and the man in the middle will get his time in the spotlight. At least 20 fouls will be whistled and over three yellow cards will be issued with no reds.
10. Los Angeles walks all over Portland
I have come to the conclusion that the Los Angeles Galaxy are good at home-cooking. There will be no shutout for Carlo Cudicini, but with Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan in the mix, the Galaxy will take advantage of a breath of fresh air and deliver a statement victory against the Portland Timbers at the Hub.
Los Angeles Galaxy 4, Portland Timbers 1