Paredes scores twice, Timbers top Galaxy 4-0
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Cristhian Paredes got a yellow card in the 16th minute and knew he had to play the remainder with caution.
That might have been the approach he needed to have a breakthrough performance.
Paredes scored two goals, the second coming on a volley to the upper-left corner in the 81st minute, leading the Portland Timbers to a 4-0 victory over the LA Galaxy on Saturday night.
The game was filled with cards both during the match and after the final whistle.
Paredes’ third and fourth goals of the season helped the Timbers move into seventh place in the MLS Western Conference.
“You try and be smart about it,” Paredes said of his early yellow card, through a translator. “Once you have a yellow card you have to come down and play more responsibly and measure yourself.
“It’s going to help me a great deal in terms of my trust” going forward.
Portland’s first two goals came in a four-minute span late in the first half. Diego Valeri scored on a breakaway after Paredes’ 37th minute header off of a cross by Jorge Moreira.
The Galaxy created ample scoring chances, including five shots from star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but they could not convert.
Moments after the first goal, Ibrahimovic got behind the defense and was left one-on-one with goalkeeper Steve Clark.
Clark deflected the shot wide, and Portland was quick to capitalize.
Sebastian Blanco found Valeri just beyond midfield, and Valeri took the ball the remainder of the field, cut the ball through the legs of Galaxy defender Daniel Steres and slotted a shot in the lower right corner to push the Timbers lead to 2-0 in the 41st minute. It was Valeri’s sixth goal of the season.
Ibrahimovic played a cross on the ground to Antuna directly in front of the goal in the 75th minute, but Clark made a diving save to block his first-time shot.
Portland forward Jeremy Ebobisse scored the team’s fourth goal — a header from Jorge Villafana — in the 88th minute. The final goal came four minutes after LA’s Efrain Alvarez was given a red card for violent conduct.
“In the second half ... we gave a lot of possibilities to them to get the third and fourth goal,” Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said.
Ibrahimovic has scored 16 goals this season, including all three of his team’s goals in the Galaxy’s last regular season game, a 3-2 win over Western Conference leader LAFC.
Clark finished with six saves, including a diving block on a cross from Ibrahimovic to a wide open Antuna in the 75th minute, which stopped a chance for LA to cut the lead to one goal.
“He made at least three world class saves,” Ebobisse said. “Could have made the ending of that game a lot more nerving than it was. Credit to him. Credit to the back line for shutting down (Ibrahimovic). They didn’t really give him much of a sniff.”
Added Portland coach Gio Saverese: “In the moments where they found space, (Clark) came up big.”
Paredes’ yellow card was the first of nine cards handed out, including three red cards. Alvarez was ejected in the 84th minute and LA’s Diego Polenta and Portland’s Dairon Asprilla were given red cards for a scuffle after the whistle.
For the Timbers, it was the first win without center midfielder Diego Chara in the starting lineup since 2015.
Portland (9-8-4) is unbeaten in its last six regular-season games. With the loss, the Galaxy (12-9-1) dropped one spot to third in the West.