The Galaxy's dominance of the Portland Timbers extended into Sunday afternoon's MLS Reserve League meeting, but it lasted less than a half-hour.
Once Michael Stephens, the most influential player to begin the match, was sent off for a last-man foul in the 28th minute, the Timbers found their legs, started linking passes and took advantage of their opportunities for a 3-1 victory in a league opener at Home Depot Center's Track and Field Stadium.
Rookie forward Spencer Thompson, out of UC Irvine, scored two of the Timbers' goals, and former Santa Barbara High School standout Rodrigo Lopez assisted a pair.
Jovan Kirovski, the Galaxy captain, slotted into central defense, his “first real game” he's played at the position.
“I think I can play there,” he said. “We're short on central defenders, and I can do the job there. So it's fun. I had fun playing there.”
Both teams used experienced lineups, each with at least a half-dozen players who wouldn't look out of place in the first teams. Included: Galaxy Designated Player Juan Pablo Angel, who faded after an energetic first 25 minutes and departed at halftime.
SEEING RED: Stephens, teamed with Paolo Cardozo in central midfield, was outstanding both ways and provided a foundation to the Galaxy's possession game. Until he was red-carded, for dragging down Ryan Pore just outside L.A.'s box while trying to make up for a give-away, the game had been played overwhelmingly between the midfield line and Portland's box.
Stephens' departure opened up midfield, and Lopez assumed command. The Timbers were the better team the rest of the way, although the Galaxy applied pressure toward the end and got a goal on a Bryan Jordan penalty kick after 15-year-old academy striker Justin Dhillon was taken down.
“Conceding a red card that early in the game changed everything …,” Galaxy reserve coach Curt Onalfo said. “I thought we got flustered by going a man down when really we probably shouldn't have. … I think it was more of a psychological thing, realizing, 'Oh my God, now we have 10 players,' when at the end of the day it's really not that big of a deal. That's a good learning experience for our group.”
YOUNG PLAYERS: Rookie winger Hector Jimenez (Bell Gardens/Bell Gardens HS), coming back from a wrist injury, played in midfield and at right flank, delivering a few nice balls. Rookie left back Ryan Thomas (Claremont/Claremont HS), who had a decent rooting section, went the full 90 but struggled on occasion, both defending and with the ball. Center back Sean Alvarado (UCLA) looked composed next to Kirovski.
Rookie midfielder Dan Keat came off the bench at halftime and did well linking players in the attack. Fellow rookie Dustin McCarty saw time on the left flank.
Onalfo also used two trialists, Dhillon (Rancho Santa Margarita), a Tesoro High School sophomore, and English-born defender Matt Tilley (Irvine), 16, an Irvine High School junior who trained in recent months with Tottenham and Birmingham City in England.
CHIVAS FALLS: Mariano Trujillo, who scored the winner in Chivas' MLS victory Saturday over San Jose, followed by giving the Goats (0-1-1) an early lead in the Reserve League clash afterward. It didn't last: Ryan Johnson, Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Yuri Morales scored second-half goals to lift the Earthquakes (2-1-0) to a 3-1 victory.
Trujillo and Michael Umaña played one match after the other for Chivas after the teams moved the game from its scheduled Sunday morning start time. Johnson, Ampaipitakwong and Yorba Linda's Steven Lenhart played in both games for San Jose.
Chivas reserve coach Carlos Llamosa gave time to trialists Kerry Baptiste, Macaine Piercy and Chris Cortez, youth-academy players Ian Hines-Ike, Chris Rodriguez and Eriq Zavaleta, and to MLS pool goalkeeper Kevin Guppy, who was in preseason camp with the Goats and played for them in last year's ChivaClasico against Guadalajara. Hines-Ike, Rodriguez and Zavaleta also featured in last week's Reserve League match at Vancouver.
WORTH NOTING: Guppy was with the Goats after No. 3 goalkeeper Sergio Arias got food poisoning before the team's flight to the Bay Area. … Former Loyola Marymount star Rafael Baca set up Ampaipitakwong's go-ahead goal for San Jose. … Women's World Cup-bound linesman Marlene Duffy worked the near sideline at the Galaxy game.
Sunday at Home Depot Center Track and Field Stadium
Galaxy 1, Portland Timbers 2
P -- Spencer Thompson (Rodrigo Lopez) 38
P -- Kevin Goldthwaite (Rodrigo Lopez) 48
G -- Bryan Jordan pen. 80
P -- Spencer Thompson (Ryan Pore) 90
Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Frankie Hejduk (Justin Dhillon, 67), Sean Alvarado, Jovan Kirovski, Ryan Thomas; Hector Jimenez, Michael Stephens, Paolo Cardozo (Dustin McCarty, 46), Chris Birchall; Bryan Jordan (Matt Tilley, 86), Juan Pablo Angel (Dan Keat, 46). Unused sub: Brian Perk.
Portland Timbers: Jake Gleeson; Freddie Braun, Ross Smith (James Marcellin, 75), Kevin Goldthwaite, Chris Taylor; Sal Zizzo (Darren Spicer, 71), Rodrigo Lopez, Adam Moffat, Darlington Nagbe (Sean Morris, 46); Ryan Pore, Spencer Thompson.
Yellow cards: Braun 45, 84. Red cards: Stephens 28, Braun 84. Referee: Alejandro Mariscal.
Saturday at Nutrilite Training Facility (San Jose)
San Jose Earthquakes 3, Chivas USA 1
C -- Mariano Trujillo 20
SJ -- Ryan Johnson 50
SJ -- Anthony Ampaipitakwong 62
SJ -- Yuri Morales (Ryan Johnson, Jesus Padilla) 84
San Jose Earthquakes: Andrew Weber; Justin Morrow, Bobby Burling, Ike Opara, Yousef Smay; Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Yuri Morales, 70), Brad Ring, David Frank, Ryan Johnson (Jimmy Callinan, 89); Ellis McLoughlin (Travis Pillon, 86), Stephen Lenhart (Rafael Baca, 46; Jesus Padilla. 66).
Chivas USA: Zach Thornton (Kevin Guppy, 60); Eriq Zavaleta, Michael Umaña, Macaine Piercy, Bryan de la Fuente (Chris Rodriguez, 88); Mariano Trujillo (Chris Cortez, 60), Ian Hines-Ike, Francisco Mendoza, Gerson Mayen; Victor Estupiñan, Kerry Baptiste (Artur Aghasyan, 88).
Yellow cards: Lenhart 24, Samy 33, Ring 49, Mayen 49.