Matchday Preview: Timbers face Wilmington in third round of U.S. Open Cup Wednesday at JELD-WEN Field

Portland enters U.S. Open Cup in third round against USL PRO side

 

Portland Timbers vs. Wilmington Hammerheads (USL PRO)
Third Round of 2013 U.S. Open Cup
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: JELD-WEN Field (Portland, Ore.)
Forecast: 59 degrees, rain
English Radio: 750 The Game (KXTG 750AM)
Spanish Radio: La Pantera (KWBY 940AM)

Video broadcast will be streamed live at www.portlandtimbers.com
Timbers will be wearing their Primary Green kits tonight

Wednesday’s match is the Timbers first game in the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Riding an MLS-club record 11-game unbeaten streak, Portland heads into Wednesday match fresh off a 2-0 win against D.C. United on May 25 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Rodney Wallace and Darlington Nagbe tallied goals as the Timbers moved up to second place in the Western Conference while remaining the league’s lone unbeaten team on the road. The Wilmington Hammerheads, who earned a 2-0 win against the Austin Aztex (PDL) in the U.S. Open Cup second round on May 21, are preparing for their fourth game in nine days on Wednesday. The USL PRO side has had a rough start to the season, losing seven of nine league matches, while pushing through a busy month of May. The North Carolina-based side reached the USL PRO championship match in 2012, losing 1-0 to the Charleston Battery, while also reaching the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup on two ocassions. Wilmington qualified for the quarterfinals during the 2003 and 2009 editions of the tournament.
 
About The U.S. Open Cup
The oldest continuous soccer competition in the United States, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is open to all U.S. Soccer affiliated teams, from amateur to professional levels, and has been contested each year since it was first held in 1913-14. The 2013 U.S. Open Cup, the 100th edition of the tournament, began with a 68-team field, the largest in the modern era (1995 to present), on May 7, with four amateur teams competing in a play-in round. The tournament kicked off in full swing on May 14-15 with 36 amateur teams squaring off in the first round. In the U.S. Open Cup, all Division I (MLS), II (NASL) and III (USL PRO) professional clubs, totaling 32 clubs, are participating in the tournament proper. In 2012, Sporting Kansas City won its second-ever U.S. Open Cup trophy with a 3-2 penalty kick win (1-1 draw in regulation) against Seattle Sounders FC, stopping Sounders FC from winning a fourth straight title. Every winning team earns a monetary prize, entry into CONCACAF Champions League and gets its name engraved on the base of the Dewar Challenge Trophy, which dates to the first year of the tournament and resides at U.S. Soccer House in Chicago.

READ:  U.S. Open Cup 101: A look at the 100th edition of the domestic competition

Timbers Unbeaten in 11 Straight MLS Games
Midfielder Rodney Wallace and midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe scored on either side of halftime and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made two saves as the Timbers extended their MLS-club record unbeaten streak to 11 games with a 2-0 road win at D.C. United on May 25. The win helped Portland remain the only MLS team yet to suffer a loss on the road this season.

Scouting the Hammerheads
Based in Wilmington, N.C., the Hammerheads are currently in 11th place in the 13-team USL PRO league (the third division on the U.S. Soccer pyramid). Head coach David Irving’s squad has compiled a 2-7-0 (6pts) overall record in nine games during the 2013 season. Midfielder Paul Nicholson, a native of England, leads the Hammerheads with three goals this season. Nicholson, 26, is in his third season with the club. Scottish defender Tom Parratt leads the team with two assists. Irving has been in charge of the club since 1998 and helped guide the Hammerheads to the 2012 USL PRO championship game, where they suffered a 1-0 loss to the Charleston Battery. Wilimington, which went on hiatus for the 2010 season, finished in fifth place (10-7-7, 37pts) during the 2012 regular season.

READ:  KeyBank Scouting Report: Wilmington Hammerheads

Packed Schedule
Wilmington, which has lost five of its last seven matches, is getting set to play its eighth game during the month of May. Wednesday’s match marks the fourth straight road game for the Hammerheads, who traveled to Austin on May 21 for a U.S. Open Cup match and made trips to Orlando (May 25) and Tampa (May 26) in league play. Wednesday’s match is Wilmington’s fourth game in the last nine days.

U.S. Open Cup Champions
Timbers defender Michael Harrington was part of Sporting Kansas City’s U.S. Open Cup championship run in 2012, entering the final match in the 100th minute as Sporting KC defeated Seattle Sounders FC in penalty kicks. Defender/midfielder Jack Jewsbury won the 2004 U.S. Open Cup with the club, then called the Kansas City Wizards. Jewsbury started and played 68 minutes as Kansas City earned a 1-0 win over Chicago on a 95th-minute goal from Igor Simutenkov.