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Visitors score two early goals and beat Portland 3-1 on Sunday as Timbers fall to 1-2-3 to start the season.

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored two goals to help the LA Galaxy top the Portland Timbers 3-1 on Sunday at Providence Park.Six games into the Major League Soccer season, the Portland Timbers are struggling: struggling to score goals, struggling to mark high-end attackers and struggling to stay on the field. On Sunday, April 3, the LA Galaxy came to Providence Park, scored twice in the first 16 minutes and beat the Timbers 3-1.

Scoring plays

Galaxy 1-0 (fifth minute) — Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez finished a close-range volley after Samuel Grandsir and Rayan Raveloson used a give-and-go to beat Portland defender Pablo Bonilla. Grandsir delivered a sharp cross across the 6-yard box that an open Chicharito finished acrobatically.

Galaxy 2-0 (16th minute) — In transition, Grandsir beat Bonilla one-on-one and sent another cross toward the goal mouth that deflected off of recovering defender Bill Tuiloma for an own goal in the 16th minute.

Timbers 1-2 (51st minute) — Bill Tuiloma hit a perfect 25-yard free kick into the right corner to give Portland some life.

Galaxy 3-1 (59th minute) — On a well-worked buildup, Chicharito finished from seven yards after Raheem Edwards dribbled past Yimmi Chara and Justin Rasmussen into the left side of the penalty area and slid a pass to the open striker.

Big picture — It's officially another poor start to an MLS season for the Timbers, a frustrating tradition in Portland. The Timbers have one win, two losses and three draws for six points from six matches — four of them at home. … Portland hasn't scored more than one goal in a match since opening with a 2-2 draw with New England. Four of the next five are on the road, but that might not be a bad thing. The Timbers tried to carry play in the attacking third and were buzzing around the 18 for stretches of the first half, but they couldn't make that breakthrough play before the Galaxy counterattack produced two goals. Perhaps playing on the road the Timbers will revert to defending deeper and looking for counterattacks to produce scoring opportunities — a hallmark of their success in the Giovanni Savarese era.

Scoring goals is hard — Especially when you don't have an in-form striker. Jaroslaw Niezgoda only has one goal and appears to still be working to regain form from the knee injury he suffered at the end of the 2020 season. Portland doesn't have another healthy striker right now. In his postgame comments, coach Savarese said: "Hopefully we get another forward that can help us in the moments that we need something a little different."

Scoring is easy (if you're Chicharito) — Clearly motivated, the Mexican striker scored two of the kind of goals he's made a career of, eluding defenders off the ball and delivering precise finishes when opportunities arise.

"He's scored a lot of goals in his career and it's been his movement off the ball, and he's clinical with that and he's worked on that craft," Tuiloma said.

About that Bonilla red card — Bonilla's rough first start ended moments before halftime when referee Nima Saghafi saw him retaliate and give a high shove to the Galaxy's Raveloson. Saghafi didn't hesitate to show a red card, though he clearly did not appear to see the entire exchange and the red seemed a harsh ruling.

Still, Tuiloma noted that Savarese had reminded his players before the match not to give referees the opportunity to send them off, and Saghafi's decision wasn't so clearly wrong that VAR was going to overturn it.

Outside back problems — Entering the season, the thinking was Portland might be light in the center of the defense. But the problems are coming at outside back, both because Bonilla is now the third outside back to be ejected six games into the season (and was playing Sunday for the suspended Josecarlos Van Rankin), and because opponents are enjoying attacking Portland's right flank.

All three Galaxy goals came from LA's attacking left wing. Bonilla was twice beaten to set up Grandsir's crosses and Edwards dribbled right past rookie Justin Rasmussen before passing to Chicharito for the third goal.

Staying positive — Savarese spent most of his time with the media talking about good things he saw from his team, stating that it's small details and maybe a lack of intensity around the goal that's holding back the Timbers attack.

Portland did create several half-chances and one glorious one in the first half. But, even when Yimmi Chara dribbled around Galaxy keeper Jonathan Bond, defender Derrick Williams was there to clear the ball.

"We're getting in good areas. We're moving the ball well. We're creating chances," Savarese said.

Notable — With two fouls, Diego Chara tied Kyle Beckerman's record of 756 fouls committed in an MLS career. Chara got there in 316 regular-season matches. It took Beckerman 498 career games to commit that many fouls. … With two goals this season, Tuiloma is tied for the team lead with Yimmi Chara. Two of Tuiloma's six career MLS goals have come from free kicks. …

Both teams played the last half hour with 10 men after LA's Marky Delgado picked up a second yellow card in the 61st minute. …

Portland had two shouts for penalty kicks in the second half. In the 81st minute, Yimmi Chara was tripped in the box by sliding defender Julian Araujo and in the 89th minute an attempted cross by Marvin Loria deflected off the arm of sliding defender Nick DePuy. In each case, a check by VAR determined there was no clear and obvious error.

Lineup notes — Sebastian Blanco made his first start of the season, playing into the 73rd minute before giving way to Eryk Williamson, who made his second substitute appearance as he works back from his ACL injury. … With Zac McGraw (illness) unavailable, Tuiloma paired with Dario Zuparic (in his 50th MLS start) at centerback, the third different duo used through six matches.

Timbers' next match — Portland at Vancouver, 7 p.m. April 9 (KPDX TV).


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