Timbers MatchDay: vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



Tampa Bay at Timbers

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

TV/radio: No TV / AM 750.

Webstream: portlandtimbers.com.

Tickets: Tickets, starting at $15, will be available at the gate. This game is not part of season-ticket packages. Call 503-553-5555 or visit portlandtimbers.com.

At stake: The winner advances to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup. The Timbers would travel to FC Dallas or to Houston on June 26.

About the U.S. Open Cup: Now in its 100th year, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is open to any U.S. Soccer Federation club, amateur or professional. Today is the round of 16.

Timbers’ tale: The Timbers are on a 12-match unbeaten streak in MLS play and stand third in the Western Conference behind FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake. With three significant MLS matches coming in quick order — including a nationally-televised showdown with FC Dallas on Saturday — the lineup for Wednesday’s match figures to feature a number of reserves.

Tampa Bay Rowdies story: The defending champions of the North American Soccer League, a second-division league, the Rowdies beat Seattle Sounders FC on May 29 to reach this round. The Rowdies beat VSI Tampa Bay of third-division USL PRO in the second round of the Open Cup. Tampa Bay (3-3-3) is currently fourth in the seven-team NASL.

Midfielder Keith Savage played 40 matches with the second-division version of the Timbers, and played in all 30 regular-season games for the 2009 Portland team that had a 24-game unbeaten run and finished with the best record in USL-1.

Bulgarian forward Georgi Hristov leads the team with six goals, including two in Open Cup play. Tacoma native Raphael Cox was a 2009 draft pick of Real Salt Lake and made six appearances with RSL. Coach Ricky Hill is a former England international. His son Shane is a Rowdies midfielder.