The Portland Timbers U-23s open the US Open Cup at Jeld-Wen Field Tuesday evening before kicking off the Premier Development League regular season with games at home on Thursday and on the road this Saturday.
To start off their packed opening week schedule, the Timbers U-23s will take on the Sacramento Gold tomorrow evening at 7:30 at Jeld-Wen Field as a part of the first round of US Open Cup play. The U-23s qualified last year thanks to their second place finish in the PDL's northwest division. The U-23s also qualified for the Open Cup last year after their unbeaten season in 2011.
Two days later the U-23s play at Jeld-Wen for a second time as they take on the Seattle Sounders U-23s on Thursday at 11 am in what I would love to call the Cascadia Sippy Cup. Finally, the U-23s wrap up their busy first week on the job by traveling to Edmonds, Washington to take on the North Sound SeaWolves this Saturday.
So who are this year's crop of U-23s? The 2013 class features players from thirteen different colleges, thirteen different states, and six different countries.
Eric Miller and Mark Sherrod are among the team's returning stars from last season. Miller has been a regular for the United States U-20s while Sherrod lead the Timbers U-23s in goalscoring last year, earning a selection to the PDL All-League team in 2012.
The U-23s also feature several new players this season, including a strong contingent from Caleb Porter's Akron side. Keeper David Meves, the Timbers 2013 second round draft pick and season-long guest player, has been rumored for some time now and was confirmed by the Timbers last week. Meves is joined by three fellow Akron-ites: defender Bryan Gallego, forward Saad Abdul-Salaam, and midfielder Reinaldo Brenes. Gallego is a player that Timbers fans will be familiar with, as the Timbers received his homegrown player rights from the New York Red Bulls as a part of the trade that sent Kosuke Kimura east.