The Story So Far
The Timbers are coming off a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas CIty on the weekend, extending their unbeaten streak to 8 matches. It wasn’t the greatest night for the Green and Gold, but they were able to hold off the best team in the West.
Now they face the LA Galaxy in the Round of 16 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. This will be the third time in a few short months that the Timbers and Galaxy have faced each other. The last time was right here at Providence Park, a 1-1- draw. Now it’s time to see who is going to advance to the quarterfinals.
It’s Full Of Stars
With the World Cup in full effect, the league has gone into hibernation mode. The Timbers don’t have another MLS match until they travel on the 24th to the ATL to face an Atlanta team running on all cylinders. Right now it’s focusing on the LA Galaxy, they advanced through the Round of 16 by beating FC Golden State Force 3-1, whereas the Timbers dispatched the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0.
I would suspect that with the break that all bets are off and we could see close to a regular first choice eleven, though I’d expect still to see some youngsters. With the World Cup, the Galaxy are missing the do Santos brothers and the Timbers are missing David Guzman and Andy Polo. I’d suspect you’ll see Ola Kamara start along with possibly Zlatan (I wouldn’t hold my breath) - though the last time here, he came off the bench and was pretty uninspiring.
The Galaxy are 34-17-0 in U.S. Open Cup Play, they’ve been in it every year since 1999, winning the tournament in 2001 and 2005. They’ve also reached the finals on two other occasions. Last season they made it to the quarterfinals before being bounced out of the competition by the San Jose Earthquakes. Though former coach Bruce Arena was famous for not caring in the least bit about the Open Cup.
The Galaxy will most likely come out in a 4-2-3-1 which seems to be Sigi Schmid’s prefered formation. With the possibility of Zlatan starting on the bench, I’d look to Ola Kamara to get the start at the lone striker spot. Kamara is just second to Ibrahimovic in goals scored with 6, the aforementioned Zlatan has 7. But with Providence Park being turf, I’m pretty confident that Zlatan will start the match on the bench, if he makes the 18 at all. Open Cup, World Cup break - I could see him watching from the stands for this one.
As far as the Timbers go, they’ll come out in a 4-3-2-1, which has become the preferred tactics of Giovanni Savarese. Look for Andres Flores to start for the absent Andy Polo away at the World Cup. Other than that, I’m not sure how Gio is going to play this. Get your eleven a run out, or play the kids again, though my gut tells me he’ll go with a first choice-ish eleven.
Projected Starting XI’s
Timbers: Jeff Attinella - Zarek Valentin, Larrys Mabiala, Julio Cascante, Marco Farfan - Diego Chara, Andres Flores, Cristhian Paredes - Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco - Samuel Armenteros
Galaxy: David Bingham — Dave Romney, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole — Perry Kitchen, Servando Carrasco — Chris Pontius, Bradford Jamieson IV, Emma Boateng — Ola Kamara
Welcome To Thunderdome
The Timbers have made Providence Park a fortress, and I wouldn’t expect anything different against the Galaxy coming back to our house. It’s a pretty hopeful eleven I predicted for the Timbers - as USOC matches can be a crapshoot, personnel wise. Same goes for the Galaxy, if I had a dart board I would have done my projection that way.
Nothing would be more sweet than taking out the Galaxy. Plus, who doesn’t want to win some silverware right? While this tournament has it’s issues, I’m sure we can all agree on that. Still I want my club to win silverware, and the Lamar U.S. Open Cup is a way to get some hardware on the shelf. Paint me optimistic.
While I’ve liked the deputising that Old Bill has been doing at the full-back spot - I’d like to see Zarek play his natural position and for Farfan to get some minutes. The USOC is perfect for that, and it just bugs me when you have to play someone out of position. Cascante has been holding his own at the back, so no rush on Ridgewell - who when he comes back from injury could be fighting for minutes with Cascante. Which is a good thing, keeps both of them on their toes - not to mention throwing Tuiloma in the mix.
Also wouldn’t be surprised if we’re treated to another Lawrence Olum sighting, which makes me cringe. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, he’s just not a starter, tournament or not.
If you’re like me and can’t make it to Providence Park - it will be streamed at timbers.com