With only four games left until the playoff run, it’s getting down to the do or die mentality for MLS teams. For that reason, today’s game between LA and Portland was a huge one. Before the game, these two teams were separated in the standings by one point, and Portland was the only team that LA has yet to beat in the Western conference. LA was looking to change that today as Landon Donovan was back in the lineup after his minor injury, adding to LA’s offense.
Watching the first half was like watching my little cousin play soccer, and she is 5. Challenging conditions made for challenging control. Both teams were all over the place and no one could get a rhythm under taps. It was a pretty boring first half, so let’s just jump right to the second half where Portland picked it up and never looked back. In the 52nd minute Urruti made some kind of ridiculous touch off a corner and the ball found the back of the net putting Portland up 1-0. Penendo had to make a diving save in the 57th minute as Portland was picking up their pace and firing shots left and right.
As Portland was firing shots they were also flopping like a bunch of fish out of water. It was as bad as the Italy national team, which I never thought was possible but apparently it is. Around the 65th minute LA’s Zardes got a shot off that led to a corner and LA almost had a goal. Tense would be an understatement for how the last 15 minutes were played in this game. LA had some great chances but it all came down to the 92nd minute. Landon Donovan played a free kick that found Robbie Keane’s head and then made its way to the back of the net. Before Keane started celebrating the ref blew his whistle and DUN DUN DUN, Keane was offside. Talk about a buzzkill. Thus the game ended 1-0 in favor of Portland and put LA tied for the 5th spot in the Western Conference.
Let’s just talk about a couple things real quick. First of all, what the heck was Bruce Arena thinking? The substitutions he made were highly questionable. He subbed Michael Stephens on in the 70th minute who immediately disappeared and brought absolutely nothing to the game. He then subbed on Villarreal IN THE 87TH MINUTE. I can’t even begin to decipher what that was about because when you compare Villarreal the Stephens, it’s like comparing apples to potatoes. It makes no sense.
Next, let’s talk about Robbie Keane and his cherry picking. I pointed this out two weeks ago at the DC game, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong, Keane is a brilliant player but he is terrible at cherry picking and acting like every time he loses the ball he was fouled. I know I’m ranting but come on, we all know he would be an even better player if he stopped. To put the whip cream on top of the pie, LA have four games left this season and those four games will be the make or break of their playoff run. It’s going to be an interesting month.