The Fourth Round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup went off without a hitch for the Los Angeles Football Club as steady possession and set plays led them to a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers.
“We’re ecstatic to be a round further in the Open Cup, Portland is a tough team to beat,” said LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo. “I think for the most part we were satisfied with how we played. I think our matchplay was correct and I think they implemented it well. In these tight games, plays or set pieces are kind of what unlock the match and results.”
As the whistle sounded at the beginning of the first half, both teams were eager to capitalize on any opportunity they created to be the first on the board.
LAFC would have its first shot of the match in the fourth minute but would ultimately end up being blocked by Portland goalkeeper David Bingham.
Another close save was made by Portland would follow in the 13th minute when a shot from LAFC would brush off the fingers of Bingham and was deflected away from the goal.
Time would pass in the first half with both teams keeping a steady possession. The intensity on the field slowly would increase as each team continued to change the score, but both teams displayed great defensive work stopping any opportunity.
It would be in the 32nd minute when LAFC’s Kwadwo Opuku entered from behind the defensive line and a short pass in front of the goalie was completed by his teammate Cristiano Arango; putting LAFC in the lead.
“I get a chance to look at Ryan pass so at that point I tried to find the first post and the ball was set and flicked it with the heel and the rest was the goal. It was amazing,” Arango said.
The remaining minutes of the half carried on with both teams playing almost a 50/50 possession and strong defensive lines. The first half would end with LAFC still in the lead, 1-0.
As the second half was underway, the momentum of the game seemed to increase just a bit for Portland as they trailed behind.
In the 49th minute, Portland would find themselves in a close opportunity to even the score when a shot right in the center of the goalie box would be inches away from Nathan Fogaca. However, a collision would occur between Fogaca and LAFC goalie Maxime Crepeau who stepped out to clear the ball from his zone.
By the 54th minute, LAFC would find themselves lengthening their lead. A subtle pass through the middle of the goalie box would end with Mamadou Fall seeing the pass and taking the chance to finish the play.
“What first came to my mind was they have been telling us to play those balls any chance we get,” Fall said.
LAFC reigns 2-0 over the Portland with less than 40 minutes remaining in the match.
With fouls adding up throughout the match and riling up both teams, a yellow card would finally be called in the 60th minute and awarded to LAFC’s Danny Musovski.
It wouldn’t be long until another yellow card was shown on the field. The card was awarded to Portland’s Fogaca in the 65th minute.
In the 73rd minute, Portland would try their luck as they created two opportunities in front of LAFC’s goal, but Crepeau deflected each occurrence leaving LAFC with possession.
Portland had just under 20 minutes left to create a comeback but LAFC’s defense would hold its shape. Crepeau would finish with six saves to earn a clean sheet in his Open Cup debut.
The match would conclude in LAFC’s favor, 2-0, and push them through to the Round of 16 for the third tournament in a row.
The draw for the next round of the US Open cup will be held on Thursday, May 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET.