It was a night to remember for Christian Torres, who scored the first goal of his MLS career to rescue a dramatic point for LAFC against the Portland Timbers. The Homegrown forward fired home from the top of the penalty area in the third minute of additional time, helped by a tidy assist from Kwandwo Opoku.
In a similar vein, it was the visitors who got off to a flying start in the first half, with Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark forced into making two good saves from Eduard Atuesta and Bradley Wright-Phillips within ten minutes of kick-off.
From thereon, it was Giovanni Savarese’s side that were in the ascendancy. Had it not been for a sterling performance from Pablo Sisniega, the Timbers would have entered the break ahead. The LAFC goalie made four smart saves in the first period, making him by far the busier of the two shot-stoppers.
Perhaps buoyed by words of encouragement from Savarese at half-time, the Timbers flew out of the traps in the second half to take the lead. Jeremy Ebobisse was on hand after 47 minutes to give the hosts a deserved lead, converting an assit from Yimmi Chara.
Bob Bradley’s side did begin to feel their way back into the match after falling behind, with Mohamed El-Munir and Mahala Opoku forcing Clark into a double save on the hour mark.
Yimmi Chara could have put the game beyond LAFC’s reach on 83 minutes, but the Colombian midfielder dragged his effort wide of the post. The Chara brothers’ loss was eventually Torres’ gain, the teenager equalised just ten minutes later.
Bob Bradley: ‘I’m proud of the way the guys kept pushing’
After the game, LAFC head coach Bob Bradley told reporters that he was pleased to see Torres score his first goal for the club. “I’m proud of the way the guys kept pushing the game,” Bradley said. “The substitutes came and gave us really good energy, it was really nice to see Christian Torres score his first goal.
“I thought that Jesus Murillo played a really solid game, he will be a good addition to our team. Pablo [Sisniega] made some good saves.
“It is never easy to play here, at Portland, but there are some things we are happy about.”
Giovanni Savarese: ‘I think the conditions on the field were difficult’
Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese praised his players’ performance after the match: “I think the players did a fantastic job. A tremendous game and we controlled most of the match, especially the entire second half.
“To leave this game with only one point is very disappointing because I think the players deserved a lot more because of the way we played, the opportunities we created, the chances that we had, the way we played, the way we moved the ball, how smart the guys were.”
Savarese added: “It was a disappointing result because we deserved the win today. I think the conditions on the field were difficult because we were from the beginning, I think, playing with a handicap of yellow cards that I think was very unbalanced.
Portland: GK Clark, D Duvall (Farfan, 75), D Mabiala, D Zuparic, D Villafaña, M D. Chara, M Williamson, M Ebobisse (Niezgoda, 88), M Valeri © (Paredes, 75), M Y. Chara, F Mora (Tuiloma, 90+1)
LAFC: GK Sisniega, D Murillo, D El-Munir, D Segura, D Harvey (Jakovic, 75), M Duke (Dueñas, 75), M Atuesta ©, M Ginella, F Pérez (Opoku, 58), F Wright-Phillips (Torres, 75), F Musovski