Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy | 2016 US Open Cup Match Preview
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. LA GALAXY
PROVIDENCE PARK, Portland, Oregon
June 29, 2016 (U.S. Open Cup)
10:30 pm ET (YouTube)
The Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy have had their fair share of battles in MLS since the Timbers joined the league in 2011, including a 5-2 Portland victory in LA at the end of the regular season that propelled them to MLS Cup glory last season. However, the two high-profile sides have not met in the U.S. Open Cup since 2011. That will change on Wednesday night as they will battle to see who will reach the quarterfinals of the tournament at Providence Park.
LA's advancement into the Round of 16 did not come without controversy. The Galaxy faced a local amateur team, La Maquina, at the StubHub Center in the fourth round and somewhat shockingly, the game went all the way into extra time. LA broke the deadlock in the 96th minute after Jose Villarreal was brought down and seemed to be injured. Instead of waiting for him to get up, Baggio Husidic played a ball to Dave Romney in the box and the defender finished past the opposing goalkeeper. The Galaxy would go on to win the game 4-1. Some felt that this was a cheap move by the Galaxy, with others pointing to the fact that LA were playing within the rules of the game. Either way, LA will be looking to prove that they belong here on Wednesday.
2 in 2?
After lifting the MLS Cup last season, there's no doubt that that the Timbers will be looking to have a similar celebration this season. Their first chance comes with the US Open Cup. They got by San Jose Earthquakes in the only all-MLS matchup of the fourth round and now face a Galaxy side that relied heavily on reserves in the last round. Could they make the quarterfinals for the third time in four years?
The Galaxy played an amateur side in the last round, so it is no surprise that Bruce Arena put out a starting XI that included just a couple regular starters. Under Arena, the Galaxy have not made it past the quarterfinal stage of the US Open Cup and the MLS coaching legend has not taken home the US Open Cup since 1996. During this same round last season, Arena put out a reserve-heavy lineup that ended up beating the Earthquakes before falling to Real Salt Lake in the next round. The Timbers did not play a full-strength XI in the last round but they did start a healthy amount of regulars including Liam Ridgewell and Diego Valeri. Whoever plays the stronger side should have the advantage at Providence Park.