The Portland Timbers advanced to the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup for the first time with an easy 2-0 victory over Tampa Bay Rowdies at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers will travel to Texas June 26 to face FC Dallas.
The Fourth Round game was not as close as the score would indicate with the Rowdies managing just three shots and the Timbers dominating long stretches of possession throughout.
Just two regular starters were in the line-up for Portland as Diego Valeri wore the captain’s armband for the first time and Andrew Jean-Baptiste played in central defense for the Timbers. Yet it was little used Michael Nanchoff who contributed to both goals in Portland’s workmanlike win.
The opener came in the ninth minute as a deflected Jose Valencia pass sailed forward to Nanchoff. The first-year Timbers midfielder hit a shot on the volley across goal, just beyond the reach of Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. The diminutive Nanchoff has been a key member of Portland’s reserve team but the goal was his first in a competitive match with the Timbers.
While Tampa Bay was able to string together several passes, their attacking sequences never quite led to much of a threat in the first half. Raphael Cox took the Rowdies’ only shot of the half, though former Timber Keith Savage and Luke Mulholland contributed to play that kept Tampa Bay in the game throughout the half.
The second half was more lively for both teams though it was again the Timbers who struck early in the half. Nanchoff’s 55th minute free kick was flicked across the box by Third Round hero Frederic Piquionne and poked into goal by substitute Jack Jewsbury. The goal was the first of the season for Jewsbury and gave Portland a comfortable advantage for most of the rest of the half.
Tampa Bay countered by inserting hulking forward Amani Walker in the hopes of finding a goal to get the visitors back into the game. Instead it was Valencia who forced multiple diving saves by Restrepo midway through the second half and had a headed goal called back for offside in the 71st minute. The 21-year-old Timbers forward gave Rowdies captain Frankie Fanfilippo all he could handle in defense, consistently making runs and playing physically up top after Piquionne exited in the 57th minute.
The Rowdies’ cross-country trip nearly got an exciting finish to a fairly mundane game when Mulholland slammed a 79th minute free kick off the crossbar. His shot had Milos Kocic well beaten but angled just high enough to ricochet away from any danger to the Timbers’ defense and effectively end Tampa Bay’s threat of a late comeback.
On a night when two MLS clubs could not top second and third tier opponents, Portland glided through its Fourth Round encounter and set up a high profile match-up with FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday June 26. The game will be the second between the two clubs in eleven days as Portland hosts Dallas this weekend in league play.
Fourth Round :: Tampa Bay Rowdies 0 :: 2 Portland Timbers
June 12 – JELD-WEN Field, Portland OR
POR: Michael Nanchoff (Jose Valencia) 9
POR: Jack Jewsbury (Frederic Piquionne, Michael Nanchoff) 55
TB: Georgi Hristov 43, Jay Needham 45+, Georgi Hristov 89
POR: Georgi Hristov (second yellow) 89
Tampa Bay: GK Diego Restrepo, D Stuart Campbell, D Jay Needham, D Frankie Sanfilippo ©, D Arango, M Raphael Cox (Amani Walker, 67), M Shane Hill, M Keith Savage, M Luke Mulholland, F Mike Ambersley (Devin Del Do, 88), F Georgi Hristov… Substitutes Not Used: GK Andrew Fontein, D Thurstan Johnston, M Kyle Clinton, M Evans Frimpong
Portland: GK Milos Kocic, D Sal Zizzo, D Rauwshan McKenzie, D Andrew Jean-Baptiste, D Ryan Miller, M Diego Valeri © (Jack Jewsbury, 45), M Ben Zemanski, M Michael Nanchoff, F Kalif Alhassan (Steven Evans, 76), F Frederic Piquionne (Darlington Nagbe, 57), F Jose Valencia… Substitutes Not Used: GK Jake Gleeson, M Diego Chara, M Mobi Fehr, F Sebastián Rincón