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Timbers Open Cup loss to LAFC under protest due to player eligibility issue


The Portland Timbers lost to Los Angeles FC in their U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match on Wednesday night, but they have a beef with their opponent’s roster construction.

The Timbers are officially protesting the game, saying that LAFC fielded too many non-American players. U.S. Open Cup rules permit a maximum of five players non-American players (American citizens, permanent residents etc.) on a roster, according to the Timbers, LAFC had seven.

“The U.S. Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel will review the matter as soon as possible,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement. The panel will make a ruling on Saturday.

According to Open Cup guidelines, a foreign born player is any players that are not “U.S. Citizens, lawful permanent residents, asylees and refugees.”

The controversy stems from the inclusions of Canadian-born players Mark Anthony Kaye. LAFC was told that Kaye counted as a domestic player for the purposes of the U.S. Open Cup — he counts as a domestic player for MLS roster purposes — but it has been determined that Kaye counts as a foreign player due to the fact he does not have a green card, and doesn’t fall into any of the other qualifying categories.

The five other foreign-born players in LAFC’s squad were Carlos Vela, Adama Diomande, Marco Urena, Laurent Ciman, and Diego Rossi.

If found guilty of violations, LAFC is subject to a fine, or even forfeiture of the game.

What could keep LAFC from having to forfeit the match is the possibility that a U.S. Soccer official informed LAFC that Kaye counted as a domestic player, something a team source told SBI took place.

The draws to see who host the upcoming semifinal matches and to determine the priority for hosting the final will take place on Saturday.


  1. Diomande called a racial epithet during that game as well. In my book Portland is really skating on thin ice if that truly is the case and they can prove it said player fan needs to be permanently ejected. We all say and do things we shouldn’t but at some point we’ve got to be accountable for them and everybody knows that’s not acceptable there are no idiots who aren’t aware of that Save a few knuckle dragger still out there. But honestly the league needs to seriously stop on that as well does US soccer

  2. Timbers have (2) US starters for the team all season, total of (3) on their game day roster, (5) on their 23 man roster. Wow, I can’t believe they would even bring this up.

    The rules for a domestic player should be eligiablity to play for the US or Canadian national team. It is a US/Canadian league. Why do i can about the carer development of an Argentinian 3rd tier players in the US league?

    • I agree with you regarding your sentiment toward the Timbers’ roster construction and the irony of them bringing up this complaint. However, this is not a league game; it is a US Open Cup game, so Canadian citizenship should not count as domestic…

      • My complaint is that I think he is classified as an international HGP even though he came from Canada and was TFC’s HGP — how can you be a homegrown for a second team — and doesn’t even have MLS continuity but instead dropped down to USL, and not on loan — I don’t know how you stay a homegrown after you are cut and sign in another league, then come back.

        That being said, I did a count a few months back and there were maybe 2-3 dozen total Canadians in MLS. That’s absurd for a league with 3 whole Canadian teams. There is an argument to be made that in a single entity league with teams in two countries players of either country should count as domestic, regardless of which country they play in.

    • I agree with your point as a separate issue. I did an analysis at a point earlier this year of the potential US MNT coaches mentioned in the Stone Tweet field, and how many Americans they started. It was between 2-5 per team out of 11. There is an argument to be made that our league has gotten so cosmopolitan as the international slots increased, that it is weakened as a source of USMNT pool options.

      However, the USOC rules are in the spirit of what you are complaining about and the team that played by those rules is the team you are chastizing. LAFC is the one who not only apparently has 8-10 internationals but won’t even stay within the 5 player limit for USOC. To then rip Portland when at least they obey the USOC rule doesn’t encourage things in your direction.

      • johhny razor: well if he’s not an international HGP the only other options are citizenship or long term legal immigration status (green card, asylum). If he’s not an HGP then there is no difference in USOC and MLS eligibility besides that, which raises the question how he isn’t an international for both purposes.

        I mean one subtle thing to me is depending how LAFC fudged this, was he eligible for MLS or have they been fielding one too many internationals on their MLS roster, too. He has played a ton of games including starting against my Dynamo. Was he an eligible player? Do we get a forfeit too?

        I’m curious to see what the explanation is and whether it causes further LAFC spiral.

      • IV – MLS in a competition that includes franchises in the US and Canada. The Open Cup is a tournament that only includes teams in the US. Thus, the definition for “domestic” would be different for each competition.

  3. Funny coming from Portland who generally only dresses two Americans. The issue seems to be our foreigners are less foreign than yours.

  4. how can you be LAFC’s “international homegrown” when you grew up in canada and were in tfc academy, then spent years in the minors? kinda sketchy.


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