The LA Galaxy, the final Southern California team left in the 2016 U.S. Open Cup, are in action in the Round of 16 on Wednesday, traveling up to Portland to take on the Timbers, in the Galaxy’s first meeting against MLS opposition in this year’s tournament.
You may recall the circumstances in which the Galaxy made it to this point, going to extra time against local amateur side La Máquina before a controversial goal put the MLS side ahead, with another two goals scored to make it a far more comfortable 4-1 result. A protest was filed on that result, but with no official ruling overturning the result, the Galaxy are indeed moving on.
LA will be welcoming back Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes this week from international duty, but whether either player is available for selection tonight is a big question. More likely, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena will opt for a reserve-heavy lineup, including forward Jack McBean, signed last week back to the first team from LA Galaxy II. And given the star-laden XI Arena usually uses in MLS, this kind of game is an exceptional opportunity for those players who don’t get first team action very often to show what they can do.
For Portland, a similar lineup question is present coming into the match. The Timbers were the only MLS team to face MLS opposition in the last round, as they defeated San Jose 2-0. Timbers boss Caleb Porter mixed reserves and regular starters, and it was effective. As a result, expect more of the same for this game, especially considering the reputation LA has for punting on this competition.
That said, winning a trophy is never something the Galaxy are going to actively try to avoid, and with just four games to win in order to lift the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, they have every chance of moving on to the quarterfinals. It won’t be easy, but it’s certainly sure to be an interesting game in the oldest soccer competition in the United States.
Portland vs. LA in the U.S. Open Cup kicks off at 7:30 pm PT on Wednesday night at Providence Park in Portland. You can watch the game live on LAGalaxy.com.