Ryan Thomas is serving an apprenticeship of sorts in his first pro season, training daily with the best side in Major League Soccer and occasionally getting a run-out in a reserve game, with mixed results. It's part of the development process.
The rookie backliner from Claremont, and Stanford University, gave a breakout performance for the visiting Galaxy on Thursday night, scoring one goal and assisting another as L.A. trotted out to a two-goal lead over the Portland Timbers with about 20 minutes to go.
Darlington Nagbe spoiled things for the Galaxy, scoring in the 78th minute and two minutes into stoppage to lift the Timbers to a 3-3 draw.
Thomas was taken in MLS's supplemental draft, the 70th selection overall. Nagbe, an Akron product expected to become a huge star, was No. 2 overall.
The result was enough to assure the Seattle Sounders the Western Division title in the MLS's Reserve League. Portland (4-2-2) had been the only team capable of catching the Sounders (7-1-0); the Galaxy is 1-5-1.
Thomas had an assist on Miguel Lopez's opener in the 42nd minute and restored L.A.'s lead in the 66th. Paolo Cardozo made it 3-1 six minutes later, setting the stage for Nagbe's heroics.
WORTH NOTING: Midfielder Jovan Kirovski returned from a sprained ankle that has sidelined him nearly two months. ... Academy players Mario Rodriguez (a U.S. under-17 national-teamer), Jose Villareal and Javan Toure made their Reserve League debuts with the Galaxy. ... The demand for Timbers tickets has led to the club charging admission for Reserve League games. They've drawn 19,721 over four games.
Jeld-Wen Field (Portland, Ore.)
Portland Timbers 3, Galaxy 3
LA -- Miguel Lopez (Jack McBean, Ryan Thomas) 42
P -- Bright Dike (Eric Alexander, Darlington Nagbe) 50
LA -- Ryan Thomas (Jovan Kirovski) 66
LA -- Paolo Cardozo 72
P -- Darlington Nagbe (Rodrigo Lopez) 78
P -- Darlington Nagbe 92+
Portland Timbers: Adin Brown; Chris Taylor, Mark Lee (Tracy Hasson, 85), Douglas Nyame (Alex Nimo, 89), Taylor Mueller; Rodrigo Lopez, Freddie Braun, Peter Lowry, Eric Alexander; Bright Dike, Darlington Nagbe.
Galaxy: Brian Perk; Bryan Jordan, Dustin McCarty, Kyle Davies (Javan Toure, 61), Ryan Thomas; Hector Jimenez, Jovan Kirovski, Michael Stephens, Paolo Cardozo (Jose Villareal, 88); Miguel Lopez, Jack McBean (Mario Rodriguez, 90). Unused subs: Kevin Guppy, Jeffrey Payeras.
Yellow cards: Stephens 43, Braun 65.
Referee: Arten Sher. Att.: 4,882.