UPDATE (7/20, 11:12 p.m.) – The Portland Timbers announced that they are withdrawing their protest.
The day after the Quarterfinals of the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the US Soccer Federation was supposed to perform the draw to see which teams will host the Semifinals and who will have hosting priority for the Final. However, a wrench was thrown into those plans when the Portland Timbers notified the federation that they are filing a protest after losing to Los Angeles FC, 3-2.
The details of the protest were not released, but upon closer examination, it appears as though Los Angeles FC may have violated tournament rules. The rules state (Section 202(d) of the 2018 US Open Cup handbook): “A team may list up to 18 players on its game day roster. Professional teams may have no more than 5 foreign players listed. Amateur teams are not restricted as to the number of foreign players they may list. Foreign players shall be those players who are not protected individuals as defined in 8 U.S.C. § 1324b (e.g. U.S. Citizens, lawful permanent residents, asylees and refugees).”
Out of the players who saw the field for LAFC on Wednesday night, six of them are international players. One more than the limit of five.
Tyler Miller (GK)
Marco Urena – international
Carlos Vela – international
Diego Rossi – international
Laurent Ciman – international
Mark-Anthony Kaye – international
Adama Diomande – international
Latif Blessing and Dejan Jakovic both have green cards and do not count as international players. Players who are from Canada, according to US Open Cup rules, count as international players, which would include Mark-Anthony Kaye.
TheCup.us has confirmed that Kaye does not have a green card but is officially listed as a domestic player within Major League Soccer because he is a “homegrown international.” In US Open Cup play, there is no indication that Kaye would qualify as a domestic player under that policy. The US Soccer Federation does not operate using MLS’ roster rules. But he is listed as a domestic player on the LAFC gameday roster for the Timbers game.
Sources have told TheCup.us that LAFC even went so far as to contact the federation to confirm that Kaye was eligible. He was approved. All emails and related materials have been sent to the Open Cup Disciplinary Committee and they are expected to make a ruling over the weekend.
It is unclear what the punishment would be because there’s no precedent. There has not been a roster violation committed by a professional team during the Modern Era (1995-present).
The only similar situation to this occurred during the 2013 US Open Cup qualifying tournament run by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). The New York Pancyprian Freedoms submitted a roster that featured an ineligible player and it was approved. When that player was discovered to have been ineligible, their opponent, Newtown Pride FC (Conn.) filed a protest and the Freedoms were disqualified. New York argued that it was not their fault that their roster was approved erroneously, so the game was replayed.
Stay tuned for updates … #USOC2018