By DAN ITEL
With a handful of preseason matches between MLS teams and lower division sides, Wednesday’s loaded slate of tournament matches may not appear to offer much intrigue.
But that’s not entirely the case. There are some interesting story lines at play.
D.C. United’s meeting with the Charleston Battery (7:15 pm, streamed live here) in the Carolina Challenge Cup is known as the Coffee Pot Cup thanks to some old U.S. Open Cup lore. As described in a story on DCUnited.com, Charleston upset a star-studded D.C. United side that included Roy Lassiter and Jaime Moreno in the 1999 USOC, leading DCU players to break a couple of coffee pots and shower heads in the visiting locker room after the game.
“No one wants to lose to a second or third division team,” said Eddie Pope, a member of the United at the time, in the article. “That team was raring and ready to go and they had a lot of good players, so it wasn’t a cakewalk. For them it was their World Cup. For us it was another step on the way to the final.”
Across the country in Portland, Ore., the Timbers take on Jamaican side Portmore United on the second day of the Rose City Invitational (10:30 pm, streamed live here). The game gives young Timbers outside back Alvas Powell, competing with veteran Jack Jewsbury for the starting right-back spot, a chance to take on his old team.
The Timbers acquired the 19-year-old Powell from Portmore late last season, giving Portland two Jamaican internationals on their roster, the other being starting goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
“I had been watching Portland for a long time, and Portland’s structure of the team, the players, it was fantastic,” Powell told Timbers.com. “I had always watched Portland because Portland is a nice attacking team. The stuff that I normally did in Jamaica was pretty easy, but while training here each day I’ve been learning and learning. So it’s a big difference.”
The other game in the Rose City Invitational is San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (8 pm, streamed live here).
In the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, Fla., two of the top movers and shakers from the offseason will face off when Toronto FC take on the Philadelphia Union (1 pm, streamed live here). It’s a showdown between the remade Reds, led by U.S. national team star Michael Bradley, and the Union and fellow national team midfielder Maurice Edu.
Also in the Disney Classic, the reigning Supporters’ Shield holders New York Red Bulls take on Brazilian side Fluminese U-23s (3 pm, streamed live here) and two playoff teams from the Eastern Conference face off when MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City take on the Montreal Impact in the teams’ final group stage game (8 pm, streamed live here).
With wins in their first two games of the tournament, Sporting will clinch a spot in the championship game with a win or a tie against Montreal. The Impact will be looking to bounce back from their 3-0 defeat against New York in their last outing.
In the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz., Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera will see his former team for the second time this preseason when the Goats take on the Colorado Rapids (3 pm, streamed live here). Chivas, with a win and a tie in the first two tournament games, have a chance to advance to the championship game with a result in this game. Colorado, still under the guidance of temporary caretaker Pablo Mastroeni, lost 2-1 to Chivas earlier this preseason.
In the Carolina Challenge Cup, another two playoff teams meet when the Seattle Sounders take on the Houston Dynamo (5 pm, streamed live here). The Sounders beat Charleston 2-1 in the tournament’s opener, while the Dynamo lost 2-0 to D.C. United.