Timbers Match Day vs. Cal FC

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. today at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV: none

Radio: 750 AM (940 AM Spanish broadcast).

Tickets: Starting at $10, tickets are available at Jeld-Wen Field and through Ticketmaster. This is not part of the season-ticket package, so there are plenty of ticket options and there should be tickets available for walk-up customers.

The stakes: The winner advances to the round-of-16 in the U.S. Open Cup tournament. If Portland wins, it will host either the Seattle Sounders or the Atlanta Silverbacks next Tuesday.

About the Cup: This is the 99th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the national championship for soccer in the United States. Similar to England's FA Cup, this tournament gives amateur and lower-division pro clubs a chance to compete alongside top-division professional teams for a domestic club championship.

• The third round, which started with Tuesday matches, is where the 16 U.S.-based MLS teams enter the 2012 Open Cup. Seattle has won the last three Open Cup tournaments.

• The 2012 Cup tournament started with 64 teams two weeks ago. Of the 32 teams remaining, only three are not professional clubs: Cal FC, Ventura County (Calif.) Fusion, and the Michigan Bucks.

About Cal FC: Formed just two months ago by U.S. Soccer hall-of-famer and Fox Soccer Channel analyst Eric Wynalda, Cal FC is mostly former college soccer players from Southern California.

Cal FC's path to Portland: Cal FC qualified for the U.S. Open Cup as a representative for U.S. Adult Soccer Association Region IV. To reach the third round, Cal FC won 3-1 over the Kitsap Pumas in Bremerton, then posted a surprising 4-0 win over the Wilmington (N.C.) Hammerheads.

Cal FC player to watch: Midfielder Danny Barrera has two goals in each Cup win and with four goals is tied for the tournament lead.

Timbers' approach: Given the stakes — a chance to host Seattle in the next round — and the fact that the Timbers are early in a three-week break from MLS play, figure coach John Spencer to send a first-team lineup out for this match.

Timbers Open Cup history: As a second-division club in 2009 and 2010, Portland lost to Seattle in the third round of the tournament. Last season, the Timbers won a play-in match against Chivas USA, but lost a second play-in match to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Question of the day: Will the Timbers be able to match the motivation of an amateur team that can make a name for itself with a win over a Major League Soccer club?

Follow Paul Danzer all Timbers season on Twitter at www.twitter.com/col_timbers