Earthquakes advance in U.S. Open Cup with late Opara goal

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The San Jose Earthquakes saved their very best for the final moments of their U.S. Open Cup match Tuesday night against the Portland Timbers, and made a little history in the process.

Ike Opara headed in a cross from Sam Cronin in the 120th minute of a match that went into two extra-time sessions, giving the Quakes a 1-0 win and their first U.S. Open Cup qualifier victory since they became a franchise again in 2008, while handing the Timbers their first loss of 2011 at Jeld-Wen Field. 

Portland was eliminated from the competition. San Jose moves on to face the Chicago Fire in the next round. 

The Earthquakes got the job done despite a game effort from a team made up of mainly Timbers' substitutes, as Portland has an MLS match against Philadelphia on Friday night. San Jose earned the right to host the match but Buck Shaw Stadium was not available to them. 

A first half of not much excitement gave way to a foul-plagued yet more action-packed second half in front of 11,412 fans. Timbers midfielder James Marcelin took a long-distance shot in the 15th minute that Earthquakes goalkeeper Andrew Weber stopped. A sign of good things to come for Opara came in the 27th minute, when, in going for a header, he got inside defenders for a collision with Portland keeper Troy Perkins. 

Before halftime, midfielder Khari Stephenson whiffed on a cross from Ryan Johnson despite having no defender in front of him.

In the second half, both teams took their shots at one another. The more physical matchups were Portland's Ryan Pore against San Jose's Chris Wondolowski and the Timbers' Sal Zizzo against defender Ramiro Corrales of the Quakes. 

Johnson had a shot deflected over the goal by Perkins in the 75th minute. 

Steven Lenhart appeared to have scored for San Jose in the 14th minute of the first overtime session but the goal was waved off when it was ruled a handball.

Both teams wore each other out and the match looked headed for PKs, but Opara got free for the winner. The Timbers had a corner kick as the seconds ticked down but failed to convert.



  • Charlie

    Going to double OT against Timbers reserves has to be a terrible result. Sure they played Perkins, but every other Timbers starter is currently riding the bench.


  • socnow

    Just got back from the game. That was one of the worst games I’ve seen in awhile. Neither team could’ve beat a USL side tonight. Painful to watch. Timbers reserves have a lot of work to do. SJ looked terrible.

    Yeah, this was Portland’s “first loss at home in 2011” but I’m not going to count it. It was like a reserve 11 v 11 training session. Timbers clearly weren’t serious about USOC this year.

    Friday nights match vs Philadelphia Union should be a lot better.


  • El Fur de Ball

    Many Timbers Army members are highly pissed at the squad Spencer trotted out. Worse, he treated this game as a reserve match. 2 trialist. 8 benchwarmers. 1 good goalie. Timbers fans paid $20+ to watch a reserve side against San Jose’s first team. No subs for 90 minutes eventhough guys were asking for subs. Maybe MLS people think US Open Cup is a joke. But to fans who supported these teams during USL years, the tourney means something.


  • D

    Double over time? Two overtime sessions? Do you mean the second half of extra time? B/c extra time is set up in two 15 minute halves.

    El Fur, I absolutely agree.


  • abc

    Yeah it means something… but it’s still #4 on “the list of things that mean something” behind MLS Cup, Supporter’s Shield, and CCL.

    Don’t worry about it, think of it this way: taking it seriously would only make the Sounders back to back US Open Cups more impressive.


  • Magas

    I thought since MLS has made an attempt to take CCL more seriously, MLS teams would take US Open Cup more seriously – as the winner gets into CCL.


  • lassidawg

    I would take a deep Open Cup run over losing one MLS game. As an Expansion team they should have focused on trying to make a deep run. I suppose this time it gives them an easy excuse, because it was a reserve squad. It really is just like every other year in the Open Cup Portland does nothing.


  • AustrianOak75

    I believe the club seats were $140 each, good choice then on their part to pass. I thought the reserves gave a good effort though. Zizzo, Braun, and Spencer Thompson (at times) looked good in particular


  • Chicago - Scott

    a win is a win… San Jose moves on to the next round while Portland is eliminated, that’s all that matters.


  • socnow

    Exactly. If they were just going to trot out a reserve side they should’ve just made every seat GA or played at Merlo. They shouldn’t assume fans can be taken advantage of just because most regular season games are sold out.


  • Luis F

    Portland fans shouldn’t start jumping off the bandwagon after this. USOC games are great and all, but Portland doesn’t have the depth to succeed in both the USOC and MLS regular season. If I’m Spencer and I have to choose, I’ll focus on the MLS season. Expansion teams need a lot of luck to do well in the USOC. Seattle had more than it’s fair share of luck in 2009 USOC games running up to the semi and the final.


  • Luis F

    On a side note, I like Spencer. He just looks and sounds like a good manager. Obviously my impression means nothing. But at least he looks the part.


  • Phillip

    All in all I feel ok about this. I obviously would have liked a win more, but I agree with saving our starters for Friday’s game. And I only paid $8 for the value terrace seats, and as lousy as the play was at times I think I got $8 worth.


  • charlie

    I like the idea of making the entire stadium GA. Also, why no Chris Taylor? I take it they aren’t happy with him.


  • Charles

    I would have thought with a fan base that would support CCL games that Portland would have played some starters to try and win CCL.

    I guess they figure with too many teams in the playoffs that they have a shot at that.

    Sounders going for the three-peat, because other teams don’t care is ok with me. I am looking forward to another year in CCL.


  • boosted335

    This is good news for Opara. I had originally thought he would be competing for the title of best MLS CB but yet he hasnt been able to get off the bench?!? Hopefully this changes things so he can start getting some minutes


  • GMD

    Who were the trialists? I didn’t see anything but roster players out there last night.


  • Big Baller

    Timbers supporter here. That was a sham, a farce and they should return the fans money that paid anything over $8.

    Spencer has some explaining to do. Who wants to watch low quality USL caliber players at MLS prices? The Timbers starters are good enough but it’s not like he was protecting Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta from Friday’s match.

    The fatigue angle is laughable, when you compare the number of games you play in Europe.

    Just be honest and say you don’t give a rip about USOC.


  • Dave

    Everyone is complaining about not being entertained as if it is Spencers fault. Spencer wasn’t hired to entertain the Timbers Army, he was hired to meet the desires of the Timbers organization. Safe to say if USOC was a high priority our first team would have been fielded. Yes it would have been nice to win last night but we didn’t.

    Big Baller. Most european teams don’t play as much as CL/Europa league teams and even those teams rest players they just have a deeper squad. Safe to say if Man United has a game on Saturday, Tuesday and then Thursday Rooney won’t start every game unless his bench gets him to the Semi’s of the respective tournaments.


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