Timbers top Galaxy, 3-1
A Ridgy Roll. An overturned goal. And a Valeri howitzer.
All that and more happened before noon on Sunday at Providence Park.
And by early afternoon the Portland Timbers were back above the Major League Soccer playoff line with a 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy.
Liam Ridgewell and Valeri scored first-half goals for Portland. Alvas Powell made it 3-1 early in the second half.
It was a much-needed result on a day when coach Caleb Porter had his pick of players for the first time in months.
At 9-8-7, the Timbers are fifth in the Western Conference. They are one of four teams with 34 points, but have played one more match than Seattle and Houston and three more than FC Dallas. Sporting Kansas City (36) points leads the West and plays Atlanta at 5 p.m. Sunday.
The Galaxy, which was disjointed throughout the match in their second game under Sigi Schmid, is 6-11-5, ninth in the West with 23 points.
Ridgewell — in his first game since June 10 — shook free of Daniel Steres to find the ball at the far post on a fifth-minute Portland corner kick.
The lead didn't last as Emmanuel Boateng got behind Roy Miller and beat Jake Gleeson from an angle after Joao Pedro won the ball from David Guzman in his own half and sent a perfect pass into space behind the Timbers defense.
LA thought it had the lead five minutes later. But after video review — the Video Assisted Referee became active in MLS this weekend — the goal was disallowed because replays showed the Galaxy's Gyasi Zardes touched the ball with his hand on the play.
Valeri put the Timbers up with a strike from 34 yards in the 33rd minute. Miller played the ball forward for Valeri. Jermaine Jones tried unsuccessfully to cut off the pass in the air, but Valeri controlled it and had plenty of space to wind up and strike a shot that LA goalkeeper Brian Rowe had no chance to stop.
The Timbers had several other good chances before halftime. Darlington Nagbe broke free on a counter attack but Rowe blocked away his shot. Fanendo Adi got behind the defense but Galaxy defender Dave Romney recovered to make a tackle and both players fell to the turf inside the penalty area. No foul was called and the Video Assistant Referee did not suggest to field referee Drew Fischer that he review the play.
Porter thought the play should have been reviewed, expressing mixed emotions about how the new system impacted the match.
"It helped, obviously, in that moment. Going down 2-1 versus stayint at 1-1, that was a key moment in the match," Porter said. "But another key moment would have been if we went up 3-1."
It became 3-1 in the 53rd minute on Powell's first goal since 2014. The right back scored from the right side of the penalty area off a back-heel pass from Adi. A forward ball from Sabastian Blanco out of midfield sent Adi on a forward run.
"It was a good feeling. I never knew if it was going to go in. I just closed my eyes and shot it and it ended up in the goal," Powell said.
Ridgewell returned to the lineup for the first time since June 10, pairing at center back for the first time with Larrys Mabiala. Roy Miller played left back while Powell returned at right back.
It was the first game in some time that coach Caleb Porter has had a nearly full roster to choose from.
"We can play more dominantly and more aggressively when we have all our top pieces together," Porter said. "I think that showed for most of the first half and some good periods in the second half."
He hopes to keep it that way. Adi left the match after setting up the third goal with an undisclosed injury.
Ridgewell, who had played only nine of the Timbers first 23 games because of quad muscle injuries, was subbed off in stoppage time but said he expects to be fine to train next week.
"We'll know more tomorrow. I think both of those guys were just trying to be smart," Porter said.
Ridgewell said he was only tired.
"The heat was starting to get to me," he said. "Obviously, I wanted to make sure I felt all right for training this week and the game next week. So it was a good, positive result."
Next for the Timbers is an August 12 match at Toronto, which leads MLS at 12-3-8 and is unbeaten at home (8-0-3).