Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cal FC Flips the Script on the Portland Timbers

Article by Luke Lohr

In a tournament already ripe with upsets, the amateur side Cal FC shocked the MLS Portland Timbers with a 1-0 overtime victory in the third round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

Managed by iconoclast Eric Wynalda, the group of young professional-hopefuls had already taken down two respectable squads in Kitsap Pumas and USL side the Wilmington Hammerheads. They continued their impressive play on a night when statistics say they should have lost, save for one: the score.

Defeating the Portland Timbers, who played their first team, at JELD-WEN Field seemed impossible. However, Cal FC flipped the script on us and were resilient in defense while counter-attacking whenever they were able. The result at the end of regulation was 0-0 and both sides seemed exhausted. Cal FC's run through extra time is made all the more spectacular in that they are not professionals, meaning their fitness was not expected to last so long at a top tier speed.

But it did and in the first half of extra time Aghasyan of Cal FC did what Kris Boyd , Jorge Perlaza and Brent Richards could not for the timbers: he scored. The deadlock was broken and Cal FC held on to shock all who watched. So many in the social media world were talking about Eric Wynalda's team that Cal FC was trending world-wide.

The Portland Timbers had 43 shots on the night including a penalty kick in the 80th minute, none went in the net. Impressive play by Cal FC goalkeeper Derby Carillo and poor finishing exemplified the Timber's failings.

Now, the Cinderella story that is Cal FC continues when they face the defending Open Cup Champion Seattle Sounders, who had better be on the lookout. The soccer gods are smiling on this squad.

For more on Cal FC check out here and here.