Timbers begin U.S. Open Cup run tonight at PGE Park

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers begin their run in the 2008 U.S Open Cup when they face Hollywood United of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association in the first round Tuesday at PGE Park.
 
One of 40 teams entered into this year's tournament, the Timbers hope to become just the third USL First Division club to capture the U.S. Open Cup since 1914 and earn a berth into the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League.
 
Since first qualifying for the single-elimination tournament in 2004, the Timbers are 3-4-0 in U.S. Open Cup matches and have reached as far as the fourth round facing Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes in 2004 and Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005. Last season, Portland defeated the Bakersfield Brigade of the USL Premier Development League 2-0, before losing 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders in the second round.
 
The Timbers are one of eight USL First Division clubs automatically entered into the tournament. In the first round, the Timbers will face Hollywood United without all-league defender Cameron Knowles who is serving a one-game, U.S. Soccer-imposed suspension for being issued a red card in the team’s second round U.S. Open Cup match last season against the Seattle Sounders.
 
Based in Los Angeles, Calif., Hollywood United isn't a typical amateur club from the U.S. Adult Soccer Association (USASA). Known for its participation charity events, Hollywood United often features celebrities and former professional athletes on its teams. The club was founded by actor Anthony Lapaglia from TV show “Without a Trace.”
 
The Hollywood United roster for its first U.S. Open Cup includes several former professional players and two former Timbers players in midfielder Alex Bengard, who knotted five goals and seven assists for the Timbers in 2004, and forward Matt Taylor (2007). Defender Brian Dunseth, an eight-year MLS veteran also is a part of Hollywood United. He was the first player in MLS history to be listed on seven rosters during his career, seeing time with New England, Miami, Columbus, Dallas, Salt Lake and Los Angeles.
 
Other former professional players include defender Cameron Dunn and midfielder Raul Palomaires who played last season the now defunct California Victory of the USL First Division. Dunn was on trial with the Timbers during preseason and played in an exhibition match against Gonzaga in March.
 
As the one of two qualifiers from the USASA Region IV, Hollywood United qualified for the 2008 U.S. Open Cup with victories over the Santa Cruz Breakers, San Diego United and 2007 U.S. Open Cup team Banat Arsenal. Hollywood United recently won the 2008 Galaxy Classico hosted by Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS and the 2007-08 Coast Soccer League championship – the USASA league it competes in.
 
The winner of the first-round matchup between the Timbers and Hollywood United advances to face either the Seattle Sounders (USL First Division) or Arizona Sahuaros (U.S. Adult Soccer Association) on June 24. Specifics of the second round pairing will be determined after the match.
 
Recognized as U.S. Soccer’s national championship, the U.S. Open Cup is open to all teams, both amateur and professional, affiliated with U.S. Soccer. Teams from five different leagues compete in the annual, single-elimination tournament, including U.S. Adult Soccer Association, USL Premier Development League, USL Second Division, USL First Division and Major League Soccer. The U.S. Open Cup began in 1914 and is one of the oldest championship tournaments in the United States and around the world. New for the 2008 U.S. Open Cup tournament, the winner will be entered into the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League competition featuring the best teams in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.