Make that eight MLS teams knocked out of the US Open Cup by lower division clubs. The lastest is perhaps the most shocking...An amateur team coached by Eric Wynalda beat the Portland Timbers 1-0 on Wednesday night! Here are the details...
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Artur Aghasyan scored in the first overtime and Cal FC, an amateur team coached by former U.S. national team standout Eric Wynalda, upset the Portland Timbers 1-0 in a third-round match of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night.
Aghasyan, who played for a time last season with Real Salt Lake, charged Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins in the 95th minute and rifled the ball into the goal as Perkins slid on the turf.
Cal FC, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is part of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association and features several former pro players on its roster. The team beat the Kitsap Pumas of the USL Premier Development League and the USL Pro's Wilmington Hammerheads to advance to Wednesday night's match.
"I don't know what to tell you guys,'' Wynalda said after the match. "I'm a little taken aback by all of this.''
Cal FC advances to a fourth-round match against the Seattle Sounders, who have won the last three U.S. Open Cup titles.
Cal FC celebrated on the field long after the victory, pausing to get their pictures taken and applauding the Timbers Army supporters' group, which chanted "Beat Seattle!''
"This team trained once this week,'' Wynalda said. "All credit to them to figure out how to come out of here victorious. It's pretty amazing.''
Seven MLS teams were eliminated on Tuesday from the 99-year-old tournament. The Timbers did not take the match lightly, using many of their regular starters, including Scottish striker Kris Boyd.
Portland was clearly the stronger team but couldn't finish numerous chances, while Cal FC showed tenacity throughout the match.
"There's no excuses for tonight. No excuses whatsoever,'' Portland coach John Spencer said. "We should come here, we should win the game. I don't think we should win the game easy, but I don't think we should lose the game. Not at all. Totally unacceptable. And there's no excuses.''
Happy Boxing Day! The day-after Christmas holiday traditionally was for wealthy families to offer gifts to their servants, but like holidays in the United States, it has turned into a national bank holiday during which people sit around and eat and watch sports on TV.
Update from the EPL's Boxing Day lineup: Manchester United beat Wigan 5-0 to move up to a first-place tie with Manchester City at 45 points. Dimitar Berbatov had a hat trick. City tied West Brom 0-0. Meanwhile, American Clint Dempsey scored again for Fulham in a 1-1 tie with Chelsea. Fulham was coming off a 5-0 drubbing by ManU.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers lost the NASL Championship series to Minnesota, but won a heapload of respect from the league and fans in recent weeks. Considering there was a monsoon at Lockhart Stadium just before Saturday night's match, the crowd of 6,800 was very enthusiastic. I truly believe they'd have reached 9,000-10,000 if the weather had cooperated.
Ray Hudson, the former Strikers great and Miami Fusion coach, admitted he had not attended a match all season, "even though I live a half-mile from here,'' but he liked what he saw. The franchise took important steps in this playoff run, and if ownership keeps listening to Tim Robbie, next year could be really fun.
Here's the story from last night, for those you didn't see it.
On tap Tuesday...
Euro 2012 qualifiers: Germany vs. Belgium (1 p.m., ESPN2), Ireland vs. Armenia, Spain vs. Scotland, France vs. Bosnia, Sweden vs. Netherlands.
USA vs. Ecuador, friendly from Red Bull Arena (NJ), 7 p.m., ESPN2 and Univision. Will the US follow up Miami win over Honduras with another one?
Speaking of US team, coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he'd like to see MLS extend its season from 9 months to 11 months to keep up with European leagues. He thinks MLS players have too much vacation time.
Reminder that the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers host second leg of NASL semifinal this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Lockhart. They play the defending champion Puerto Rico Islanders, whom they beat 3-1 in the first leg. Tickets start at $10. Call 954-606-0400.
Finally, major thumbs up to the Seattle Sounders for selling more than 57,000 tickets for Saturday's regular-season finale against San Jose. Yes, this game was part of a 3-game package that included a Manchester United friendly earlier in the summer, but still...57,000 for a regular-season MLS game! The Sounders are averaging 36,893 per game this season, better than last year's 36,173. If only MLS could bottle up whatever they're doing in Seattle and spread it all over the league. I sure would love to get to one of those Sounders games and experience it. I've heard it feels like Europe or South America. Lots of passion. Must be fun.