The Portland Timbers find themselves in a familiar place, at least those players who were on the roster a year ago. One year ago, almost to the day, Portland learned they could potentially play the Seattle Sounders in the fourth Round of the US Open Cup. All they would need to do is beat a side from the United States Adult Soccer Association. A team called Cal FC.
Portland came into the game with a 4 game unbeaten streak with three ties and one win. All signs pointed to a possible rebound from a tough April and that John Spencer and his team were set to take the USOC seriously. The game did not go as planned and it started a slow downward spiral for the team until they reached rock bottom and a coaching change was in order.
Fast forward 1 year.
USSF released yesterday the potential fourth round USOC match ups and once again Portland and Seattle are potential opponents. Some how two years in a row a similar situations have come up. It is as if the Soccer Gods looked down and said "Portland really deserves a do over. Let's see if they can't get it right."
However there are a few things different this year compared to last year and the biggest difference is the acquisition of Caleb Porter as coach. Caleb Porter has changed the mentality and attitude of the Portland Timbers. He has helped the Portland Fans and team shed awful memories of previous seasons, namely the team's road form and late game collapses.
By winning and then facing Seattle is is yet another opportunity to shed another awful memory from 2012. Of course soccer games don't always go as planned and both Seattle and Portland could lose. If they both win and Portland then goes on to advance past Seattle it could be the Balm of Gilead Portland fans need.
It also comes down to who plays and how Caleb Porter views the US Open Cup. Does he view it like Bruce Arena does, as ridiculous and something that should cater to the elite clubs? Or does it view like Seattle has the last 5 years, as a Cup to win and thus a way into the CONCACAF Champions League?
What do you think? If Portland advances past the fourth round will it make up for last year's early exit?