Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made four saves and the Portland Timbers recorded their seventh shutout of the season in a hard-fought, scoreless draw against the LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center on Wednesday night.
With the point on the road, Portland (6-1-9, 27pts) is tied with Real Salt Lake for second place in the Western Conference and the two clubs trail conference-leader FC Dallas by just one point. The Timbers are unbeaten in their last 10 matches on the road, dating back to Oct. 21, 2012, and become just the second club in MLS history to assemble a road unbeaten streak of 10 or more games.
Overall, the Timbers stretched their current unbeaten run to 14 matches, which is the longest unbeaten streak in the league this season and is tied for the sixth-longest in MLS history. Timbers head coach Caleb Porter now owns the longest unbeaten streak by a first-year MLS head coach in the history of the league.
Backed by Ricketts' four saves against his former club, Portland's defense recorded its third shutout in its last four matches and held the Galaxy's top scorers in forwards Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan to a combined two shots. Ricketts is tied for the league lead with seven clean sheets.
The Timbers received a combined seven shots from forwards Ryan Johnson and Kalif Alhassan and midfielder Diego Valeri as they ended a three-match losing streak against the Galaxy with their first-ever road point at the StubHub Center.
The Galaxy (6-6-3, 21pts) attempted 11 of their 13 shots from inside the penalty area and had 10 corner kicks, but were held scoreless at home for just the second time this season; LA entered the match having out-scored opponents 12-2 at the StubHub Center. Forward Gyasi Zardes took a team-high four shots and goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini logged four saves.
The Timbers settled into the match after enduring some early pressure by the Galaxy, which attempted five shots in the opening 15 minutes. The Timbers then did not allow the Galaxy a shot opportunity over the last 30 minutes of the first half. Defender Pa Modou Kah made a well-timed tackle inside the penalty area on Donovan in the 41st minute to end a potential threat on goal.
A corner kick in the 55th minute led to a series of three shots by the Galaxy around the box, including one from A.J. DeLaGaraza from close range that hit off the right post. Zardes' follow-up attempt was blocked and a third effort was pushed wide of the left post.
Portland's defense continued to make key plays late in the second half. Ricketts, who played for the Galaxy from 2009-11, punched away a half volley from Galaxy second-half sub Colin Clark from near the top of the box in the 77th minute. Inside the final 10 minutes, Ricketts charged off his line to disrupt a threatening ball into the box. The Timbers stood firm through seven second-half corner kicks by the Galaxy and more than four minutes of second-half stoppage time.
Forward Darlington Nagbe produced one of the Timbers four shots on goal against the Galaxy in the 31st minute, forcing Cudicini into a diving save on a shot from distance.
The Timbers return home to play host to the Colorado Rapids on Sunday at JELD-WEN Field at 4 p.m. (Pacific) in a nationally televised match on NBC Sports Network. The match also will broadcast live on 750 The Game and in Spanish on La Pantera 940 AM.
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