Just three days after their 1-0 road victory over New York City FC, the Portland Timbers have swapped coasts and are set to take on Los Angeles FC in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup. The clash will take place at the Banc of California Stadium, where league-leading LAFC are undefeated in 2019.
Tonight’s match will be the third between the Timbers and LAFC this year with the Californians embarrassing the Timbers 4-1 during their early-season road trip and then spoiling their home open opener 3-2. However, the Timbers have continued to improve as the season has progressed and this match will be their last chance to enact some measure of revenge against an LAFC side that have been close to untouchable in league play.
If the Timbers can play the sort of lock down defense that they have shown glimpses this year — most recently in their shutout win against NYCFC — they could frustrate LAFC into making the sort of mistake that the likes of Brian Fernandez, Diego Valeri, and Sebastian Blanco can take advantage of.
Of course, both the Timbers and LAFC are in the midst of a packed-in series of fixtures with neither side having a chance to catch their breath from match to match. That means that both sides will need to weight the need for rotating their starters. We already saw some rotation from the Timbers during their weekend match, giving the likes of Diego Chara some time off the pitch, but it remains to be seen how hard LAFC coach Bob Bradley will pursue the Open Cup.
Storylines: “I’d suspect with several players not getting the start in New York, they could get the start in LA. Chara only played a few minutes off the bench and so did Jeremy Ebobisse, so they could very well start. Other players available that didn’t play in NYC include Jorge Moreira and Christian Paredes.”
Watch it on: Streaming on ESPN+
Where: Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, CA
When: Wednesday, July 10th at 7:30 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 7-8-2, 9th place in the Western Conference, won 1-0 at New York City FC
Los Angeles FC: 13-2-4, 1st place in the Western Conference, won 6-1 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps