Los Angeles, CA—A late goal by Mamadou Fall tied the game for Los Angeles FC in a 1-1 draw against the 10-man Portland Timbers at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday night before an announced crowd of 22,102. A game that went to the wire in their west coast rivalry.
Fall’s game-tying goal came in the third minute of stoppage time for LAFC (1-0-1 4 points). Brian Rodriguez had an assist on the goal.
In the 18th minute, the visitor’s grit paid off when a blocked shot in the box floated toward Yimmi Chara. The Portland midfielder fell backward and hit a right-footed bicycle kick that scorched past the outstretched arms of goalie Maxime Crepeau in the penalty box. It was Chara’s second goal of the season.
Chara was the only member of the Timbers (0-0-2) to score.
From the 25th minute on, Los Angeles FC outshot Portland 25-2.
The contest got a little chippy with seven yellow cards, including two on Portland defender Claudio Bravo that resulted in a red card around the hour mark which typified the intensity of the match and their all-time head-to-head series.
“We have to be happy with a draw tonight,” said LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo. “It could have been two goals. We could have lost. These games are always very tight against Portland.
“Our group showed good spirit. Showed they’re a team. Showed they have fight and don’t like to lose. That I was very happy with.”
Los Angeles FC goalkeeper Crepeau didn’t have to make a save until the 76th minute during last week’s 3-0 season opening win against the Colorado Rapids.
The Timbers, on the other hand, refused to allow LAFC to settle in and tested their backline from the beginning of the match as they kept the Black & Gold winless against them for the sixth consecutive regular season contest.
Los Angeles FC outshot the Timbers 14-5 early in the match, with six shots on goal to three for the Timbers.
Crepeau saved his first shot five minutes into the contest. He stopped another at the 12-minute mark — moments before outside back Franco Escobar was subbed out with a calf issue.
LAFC pressed for a tie before the break, mostly by firing crosses into the Timbers’ box and working through their captain Carlos Vela.
Portland nearly conceded a goal when a pass into the box from midfielder Kellyn Acosta bounced off Portland’s Claudio Bravo and hit the the top post.
The LA club could not rely on Vela, whose night ended after the first half when forward Mahala Opoku replaced him for what Cherundolo qualified as “precautionary reasons.”
Shortly after Portland went down to 10 men in the 62nd minute, Cherundolo also subbed out defender Diego Palacios for midfielder Latif Blessing.
Everyone who came in off the bench did “excellent work and proved to be the deciding factor,” Cherundolo said.
Fall scored the tying goal on a strong run in the second minute of stoppage time late, squeezing the air out of Portland’s victory sails as it played with 10 men for 30 straight minutes prior. Bravo’s second yellow card earned in the 62nd minute caused him to have an early night, and the shorthanded Timbers couldn’t close out the win.
Crepeau saved two of the three shots he faced for LAFC. Aljaz Ivacic had five saves for the Timbers.
“It was my turn to step up, especially since Carlos came off,” Rodriguez said. “Carlos does leave a big gap on the field, however we have players who can come in and supplement and step up. That’s an important thing.”
- 18′ – POR – Yimmi Chara
- 90’+3′ – LAFC – Mamadou Fall
LAFC visits Inter Miami on Saturday, March 12
The Timbers host Austin on Saturday as well.