Portland Timbers Announce the Copa Verde; First Friendly Against Mexico's Morelia

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The Portland Timbers' have announced an annual friendly competition against Liga MX clubs: the Copa Verde.

The Portland Timbers have never been shy about inviting international teams to Portland to play in various friendlies. They do not, however, usually create a cup competition after it. Well, that all changes today with the announcement of the Copa Verde, or the Green Cup, an annualized friendly against one of Mexico's top clubs.

For the inaugural cup the Timbers will face off against Monarcas Morelia, an uppermid-table club from down south. According to the press release, Morelia finished in 5th place in the most recent Apertura. They've also been a mainstay at the CONCACAF Champions League for a couple years.

The Copa Verde has a benevolent side to it as well. According to the press release, a portion of the proceeds from the match will go to benefit Mexico's Consulate of Portland's IME Becas proram as well as scholarships for Hispanic youth in the greater Portland area.

"The Consulate of Mexico is very pleased to partner with the Portland Timbers for Copa Verde and is thankful for the support the club is providing the community by contributing to educational opportunities through the IME Becas programs and scholarships," said Min. Enrique Antonio Romero-Cuevas, head consul of Mexican Consulate in Portland.

This will be the first time since 2008 that Morelia plays the Portland Timbers.

Tickets start at $15. This match does not appear to be included in Timbers' STH packages.

What do you think about the club creating Copa Verde? What about the first friendly against Morelia?

Full press release:

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers today announced that they will play host to Mexican first-division club Monarcas Morelia in an international friendly Wednesday, July 3, at JELD-WEN Field at 8 p.m. (Pacific) in the Timbers' inaugural "Copa Verde."

Tickets, starting at $15, go on sale to the public Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m. through the JELD-WEN Field box office and online at www.portlandtimbers.com. An exclusive pre-sale for Timbers season ticket holders, fans on the Season Ticket Waiting List and Portland Thorns FC season ticket holders will be conducted online beginning Wednesday, May 1.

In "Copa Verde" (Green Cup), the Timbers have established a new annual friendly competition in which the club will face a first-division side from Mexico. Copa Verde signifies the sustainability of the Timbers' local outreach programs and initiatives through "Somos Timbers," an outreach platform focused on Hispanic youth development, education and health in the greater-Portland area. A portion of the proceeds from Copa Verde benefit the Mexican Consulate of Portland's IME Becas program and scholarships. IME Becas focus its resources on education, health, and cultural and professional development in the local community.

"The Consulate of Mexico is very pleased to partner with the Portland Timbers for Copa Verde and is thankful for the support the club is providing the community by contributing to educational opportunities through the IME Becas programs and scholarships," said Min. Enrique Antonio Romero-Cuevas, head consul of Mexican Consulate in Portland.

Known simply as "Monarcas," Morelia was founded in 1924, and recently has been a consistent contender in Mexico's first division, called Liga MX, earning a promotion following the 1981 season. Monarcas captured their first top-flight title in 2000, winning the Invierno tournament championship, and is a three-time league finalist, most recently during the 2011 Clausura tournament. The club has earned a top-five finish in four of the last seven tournaments dating back to the 2009-10 season.

Additionally, Monarcas has been one of the top clubs in the region, competing in the 2010 Copa Libertadores as one of the few representatives of Mexico in the prestigious South American club tournament. The club is a two-time runner-up in the CONCACAF Champions Cup (now called Champions League), reaching the finals of the 2002 and 2003 tournaments, and is a two-time participant of the SuperLiga - a competition contested between top clubs from MLS and Mexico from 2007-10 - winning the tournament in its final season in 2010.

Monarcas finished the 2012 Apertura campaign in fifth place (6-2-9, 27pts) and reached the quarterfinals against Club América. Under new head coach Carlos Bustos, who took over in February, the club is 15 matches into the 2013 Clausura tournament and currently sits in fifth place in the Liga MX table with a record of 6-3-6 (24pts).

The club is led by veterans in forward Héctor Mancilla, who is tied for the league lead in goal-scoring with nine goals and is a two-time Liga MX Golden Boot winner (Apertura 2008, Clausura 2009), and goalkeeper Frederico Vilar, the league's goalkeeper of the year in 2007. Monarcas also features a pair of Ecuadorian internationals in midfielders Jefferson Montero, who appeared in each of Ecuador's last two 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and team assist leader Joao Rojas.

Monarcas makes a return to the Rose City after playing the second-division Timbers in a mid-season friendly July 3, 2008; the Mexican side won 2-0 on goals by former players Luis Angel Landin and Jaime Duran at then-called PGE Park. Monarcas will be the second Mexican side the Timbers have faced in exhibition play since joining Major League Soccer in 2011.

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