Rowdies Exit U.S. Open Cup after 2-0 Loss to Timbers
The Tampa Bay Rowdies were knocked out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after a 2-0 loss to Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, OR. An early goal by midfierlder Michael Nanchoff would put the Timbers up in the first half, while second half substitute Jack Jewsbury would score the insurance goal in the 56th minute. Tampa Bay exits the competition after reaching the fourth round for the first time in franchise history, including a historic victory of the Seattle Sounders in the first round.
The opening goal in the 9th minute came from a perfectly placed volley by Nanchoff after he picked up a bouncing rebound just outside the box. Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was unable to get a touch on the low volley to stop the ball from going in.
"We began the match forcing Portland into their own half," commented Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "Their goal changed everything as now we were down one goal after starting the match in great fashion. Their first goal was a perfect strike and Diego could do nothing about it."
The Rowdies settled down after giving up the early goal, and would go on to contain more possession as the half unfolded. Even though Tampa Bay was unable to create any dangerous chances in the first 45 minutes, forwards Mike Ambersley and Georgi Hristov were constantly making great runs into the TImbers box. Midfielder Luke Mulholland was another player that pushed the Rowdies forward, setting up several Rowdies attacks down the flanks.
Restrepo made back-to-back saves in the 29th and 31st minute to keep the Rowdies down just one goal. Both Timbers forwards Frederic Piquionne and Kalif Alhassan were unable to get powerful shots off, allowing Restrepo to come up with two easy saves.
Portland would double the lead in the 55th minute, as Jewsbury would tap in the ball after an assist by Piquionne. An initial free kick came in from 35 yards out and was headed into the heart of the box by Piquionne. His header found an oncoming Jewsbury to make it 2-0.
The Rowdies goalkeeper denied forward Jose Adolfo Valencia in two chances, making two great saves in the 68th and 72nd minute to keep the Rowdies down two.
"We gave up two easy goals that could have been avoided," mentioned Restepo. "I felt we had a great match defensively, but we are disappointed that we had those two lapses where they scored. Our efforts weren't enought but we have a good chance to bounce back against San Antonio."
Mulholland nearly cut the Timbers lead in half after his free kick smashed off the crossbar in the 79th minute. Second half substitute Amani Walker made a great run down the right flank in the 83rd minute, sending a low cross to Ambersley but the ball was poked away from the forward before he got a shot off.
"It was unlucky that the free kick didn't go in," said Mulholland. "Luck just wasn't on our side tonight. If that would have gone in, we would have had 10 minutes to try to find the equalizer. With that being said, we can't sit and talk about what would have happened. We must bounce back and get the win on Saturday."
Tampa Bay would go a man down in the last minute of play after forward Georgi Hristov would be sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the match. The Rowdies were able to maintain long stints of possession throughout the match but they were unable to harm the TImbers in the final third.
Portland: Michael Nanchoff - 9th minute
Portland: Jack Jewsbury - 55th minute (assisted by Frederic Piquionne)
Portland: Kocic, Zizzo, Jean-Baptiste, McKenzie, Miller; Valeri (Jewsbury 45') (Captain), Zemanski, Nanchoff; Alhassan (Evans 76'), Piquionne (Nagbe 57'), Valencia
Rowdies: Restrepo; Campbell, Sanfilippo (Captain), Needham, Arango; Mulholland, Hill, Savage, Cox (Walker 67'); Hristov, Ambersley (Del Do 88')