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Galaxy can't defend, can't score

L.A. regains Robbie Keane, but opportunities on offense are scarce in a tie with the Portland

June 19, 2013|By Jim Peltz

After being roughed up for eight goals over its last two games, the Galaxy defense steadied Wednesday night and shut out the Portland Timbers.

That was the good news for the Galaxy.

The bad news was that the Galaxy could not score against the Timbers and the teams played to a 0-0 tie in front of 23,675 at StubHub Center, formerly Home Depot Center.

BOX SCORE: Galaxy 0, Portland 0

"Two good teams defended very well, not too many chances," Galaxy forward Robbie Keane said. "It was just one of those games."

The Galaxy is now 6-6-3 with 21 points, and the club remained in fifth place — the last playoff spot — in Major League Soccer's Western Conference, seven points behind first-place FC Dallas.

Portland, meanwhile, settled for its league-high ninth tie of the season. But the Timbers (6-1-9) have now gone undefeated in their last 14 games.

The Timbers, with 27 points, are tied with Real Salt Lake for second place in the conference. Their only loss came in the second game of the season.

Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts "is not easy to beat," Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena said. "This was going to be a game where we would have to jump on any opportunity we got."

But opportunities were scarce as both teams struggled to mount scoring chances and each had only four shots on goal.

The Galaxy had both of its star forwards back in the lineup, with Keane rejoining Landon Donovan after missing two games while playing for Ireland's national team.

But Keane and Donovan were all but shut down by Portland's four defenders, and neither forward had a shot on goal.

Keane managed to get open in the fifth minute and passed to Donovan as they rushed toward the net, but Donovan's shot from about 20 yards was immediately deflected before it could get near Ricketts.

Two of the Galaxy's shots on goal came from defender Todd Dunivant, who returned after missing three games because of a left leg strain.

Pablo Mastroeni made his Galaxy debut as a substitute, but not until the four minutes of stoppage time. The veteran midfielder was acquired from the Colorado Rapids last week.

The Galaxy next plays Chivas USA, whose home venue also is StubHub Center, on Sunday. Chivas USA will be the home team.

New academy head

The Galaxy said former team captain Peter Vagenas was named director of the L.A. Galaxy Academy, which develops young players.

The Galaxy selected Vagenas, 35, in the second round of the 2000 MLS SuperDraft out of UCLA ,and the midfielder went on to play in 183 regular-season games for the club.

A Pasadena native who attended St. Francis High in La Cañada Flintridge, Vagenas last played in the MLS in 2012 with Chivas USA.

james.peltz@latimes.com

Times staff writer Andrew Gastelum contributed to this report.

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