The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) continued its quest in the United State’s oldest soccer competition, the U.S. Open Cup. Facing them across the pitch were their MLS Western Conference rival the Portland Timbers.
This was the third consecutive tournament where LAFC was forced to face Portland, but the first since 2019 after the cancelation of the competition for two consecutive years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In what turned out to be a thrilling match, the Black and Gold advanced to the Round of 16 eliminating the Timbers 2-0 thanks to goals in each half. It could have been a higher scoring game if not for the efforts of both goalkeepers.
Maxime Crepeau was named Man of the Match, and arguably delivered his best performance yet for LAFC nodding six saves in addition to countless plays that had him coming out of his box to stop the Timbers offense.
In the first half, it was the one-two punch of Kwadwo “Mahala” Opoku and Cristian “Chicho” Arango putting LAFC up 1-0 in the 32nd minute.
Opoku chased down a deflected ball from a taken corner and put a low cross into the box which Arango back-heeled in the net past Timbers goalkeeper David Bingham for the lead.
Bingham ended matching Crepeau’s number of saves with six of his own, including a point blank save on a Illie Sanchez shot in the box, keeping it 1-0 at halftime.
In the second half LAFC continued to pressure Bingham and were rewarded in the the 54th minute when Mamadou Fall scored to put LA up 2-0.
Fall scored the goal off a corner kick that was deflected and landed at his feet, he shot it low which prevented Bingham from doing anything about but provide the final margin.
“Beating Portland this early in the competition is a tough job, we’re quite happy with the result and for the most part satisfied with how we played.” Coach Steve Cherundolo said after the game.
With the win in hand, LAFC must now wait until the U.S. Open Cup draw on May 12th to see who their opponent will be in the Round of 16.
The Black and Gold will need another strong performance like Tuesday Night’s if they want to continue their journey for a chance to lift the Lamar Hunt Trophy as U.S. Open Cup champions.