Timbers U-23s Andrew Ribiero
Ethan Erickson

Timbers U-23s to make first U.S. Open Cup appearance Tuesday

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers U-23s will make their first appearance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday when they play host to PSA Elite of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association (USASA) in a first-round matchup at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific).

Tickets are $7 and are available for purchase through the JELD-WEN Field box office or online through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com. Prior to Tuesday’s match, the Major League Soccer match between the Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo at 5:30 p.m. (Pacific) will be shown live on the video wall at JELD-WEN Field; gates open at 5:15 p.m.

The winner of the first-round match between the Timbers U-23s and PSA Elite will travel to face the Carolina RailHawks of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in the second round on Tuesday, May 22, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.; kickoff is set for 4:07 p.m. (Pacific).

One of 16 teams from United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League (PDL), the Timbers U-23s qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open Cup based upon their finish in the PDL’s Northwest Division standings in 2011. It is the first time the Timbers U-23s have qualified for the nation’s oldest soccer tournament.

The Timbers U-23s opened their PDL season with a 3-0 win over Fraser Valley Mariners FC on May 11 at JELD-WEN Field. A first-half brace by forward Mark Sherrod, scoring either side of a goal by striker Emery Welshman, lifted the team to its season-opening victory.

Based in Irvine, Calif., PSA Elite earned a berth in the U.S. Open Cup after winning the USASA Region IV championship on May 6. Former second-division Timbers defender Cameron Dunn anchored the team’s backline during the Region IV championship match and helped the team clinch a spot in the USASA National Cup Final Four. PSA Elite is one of just nine USASA clubs to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Open Cup.

The 2012 U.S. Open Cup, the 99th edition of the tournament, includes a 64-team field, which represents the largest in the modern era (1995 to present). The first round includes 32 amateur sides, which have been paired geographically, with the restriction that teams from the same qualifying pool cannot be paired. First-round winners will face Division II or Division III clubs in the second round. In the third round, second-round winners will be geographically paired with Division I clubs.

The Timbers U-23s return to PDL play on Saturday at 7 p.m. (Pacific) when it takes on the Victoria Highlanders at Alder Creek Middle School in Milwaukie, Ore. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.

The U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament open to U.S. Soccer affiliated clubs, which has crowned a champion for 98 consecutive years beginning in 1914. Every winning team’s name is engraved on the base of the Dewar Challenge Trophy, which dates to the first year of the tournament and currently resides at the U.S. Soccer House in Chicago. The 2012 champion will earn a $100,000 cash prize, while the runner-up will collect $50,000. The top Division II, Division III and amateur clubs will each receive a $10,000 prize. For more information, visit www.ussoccer.com.