Sunday, April 15, 2012

"The Boys From Brazil"

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Juninho (19) is congratulated by David Junior Lopes (3) after Juninho scored a goal against the Portland Timbers in the second half of an MLS soccer game in Carson, Calif., Saturday, April 14, 2012. The Galaxy won 3-1.

If you were to combine Juninho and David Junior Lopes and divide by two, you'd wind up with two average-sized soccer players — not to mention an even number of names for both.

Taken as they are, the 5-foot-7 Juninho and his 6-foot-3 Brazilian countryman were the largest and smallest of the Galaxy's outfield players Saturday.

And together they played the biggest roles in a 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers before an announced crowd of 22,143 at the Home Depot Center.

Juninho's contribution came on offense, where his goal in the 83rd minute snapped a 1-1 tie and helped give the slumping Galaxy only its second win of the season. To get it, the diminutive midfielder had to first battle Darlington Nagbe for control of the ball just outside the 18-yard box, then spin away from the Portland forward and drive a hard shot into the back of the net.

Lopes, acquired in a trade with Chivas USA on Tuesday, made his mark on the other half of the field, where he plugged a gaping hole in a defense that has proved to be the most porous in the Western Conference without the injured Omar Gonzalez.

"He was possibly the man of the match," said midfielder David Beckham, whose insurance goal in bonus time accounted for the final score. "He was fighting for the ball, winning balls. He's a great addition to the team."

No comments: