Los Angeles Soccer: Brian Umony

Galaxy, Timbers play to a draw

February, 8, 2011
2/08/11
8:56
PM PT
A little more than a week into ball work, and Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is satisfied, more or less, with how things are proceeding. His team was hit-and-miss in Tuesday afternoon's scrimmage against the Portland Timbers at the Home Depot Center's track and field stadium, a 1-1 draw that saw L.A. trying different combinations and looking at players in new positions.

Uruguayan rookie midfielder Paolo Cardozo, whose slight build and baby face belie his technical gifts on the field, scored again for the Galaxy, taking a feed from Bryan Jordan (Temple City/Temple City HS) and firing to the upper-left corner to provide the lead less than two minutes into the second half. Uganda national-teamer Brian Umony, on trial with Portland, knocked home a loose ball following a corner kick three minutes later.




"I think we've learned that this is preseason, and we have a long way to go," Arena said after the game. "But today's still a good exercise. Our passing and our ability to create width in the attack in the first half of this game was not good. So those are things to learn from. That's what the preseason's for."

Cardozo also scored in the Galaxy's 7-1 mauling of Loyola Marymount on Friday, converting a second-half penalty kick. Portland, which was playing its first game as an MLS team against MLS opposition, tied the Ventura County Fusion, 1-1, Friday night in its first preseason match.

MOVING AROUND: Arena and his staff tweaked the close-to-first-choice lineup they used in the first half against LMU, teaming Michael Stephens (rather than Chris Birchall) in central midfield with Juninho and pairing Omar Gonzalez with Leonardo in central defense, with Frankie Hejduk on the right and A.J. DeLaGarza on the left. Starting keeper Donovan Ricketts made his preseason debut.

Sean Franklin, L.A.'s No. 1 right back, played in central defense next to Gregg Berhalter in the second of two 45-minute halves. Jordan, who played up top in the second half against LMU, was the right midfielder in the second half, with Mike Magee teaming with Adam Cristman up top.

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MLS Quick Look: Portland Timbers

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
2:59
PM PT

The Portland Timbers opened training at Oxnard College earlier this week and meet the Ventura County Fusion -- the reigning Premier Development League Southwest Division champion -- in a friendly Friday night at Ventura College.


The Timbers, preparing for their Major League Soccer debut, conclude their So Cal stay with a closed-door match Tuesday afternoon against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center.

Here's a quick look at the Timbers:

WHO ARE THEY?

One of two Pacific Northwest expansion teams that, like the Seattle Sounders before them (but more so), emerges from longstanding organizations -- and even lengthier histories. The original Timbers, of course, played in the old North American Soccer League; this club was formed in 2001 and has spent the past 10 years in whichever league constituted the second tier of American pro soccer.

THE MAN IN CHARGE

Scotsman John Spencer, a compactly built pit bull of a forward for 15 years in Britain, Hong Kong and MLS, takes on his first head-coaching job after serving as Dominic Kinnear's top assistant with the Houston Dynamo for 4 seasons.

Spencer was a Rangers FC product who toiled for Chelsea and Everton (and others) in England and Scotland (and 14 times for Scotland's national team), then wrapped up his playing career with four fine seasons (and two MLS Best XI awards) with the Colorado Rapids.

THE STAR PLAYER

There isn't one, although there soon will be. Rookie forward/midfielder Darlington Nagbe, the No. 2 overall selection in last month's draft, could be something very special, although he's likely -- unlike former University of Akron teammate Steve Zakuani up in Seattle -- to seek to avoid the spotlight.

Caleb Porter, his college coach, told The Oregonian Nagbe is “a very humble, soft spoken and genuine kid with a big heart,” and Spencer said: “Every time you talk to him, you walk away thinking he’s someone you would be happy if your daughter brought him through door and said, ‘Hey dad, this is who I’m marrying.’ You go up to your room and think, ‘Thank God she brought home a good one.’ That’s probably the highest compliment I could pay the kid.”

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