Oh #@%&, not again!
If someone had told you the Timbers were going to pepper (the vicinity of) the Cal FC goal with nearly 40 shots on this night, odds are you would expect the Portland Timbers to have advanced easily. But unfortunately for Timbers fans, few of those nearly 40 shots were on goal, and even fewer seriously threatened the Cal FC goal, and the Timbers would pay dearly for their inability to convert possession and chances into even a single goal as the Timbers would fall 1-0 to USASA side Cal FC in overtime in front of 5,489 at Portland’s JELD-WEN Field.
The visitors would not be sporting their Chicago Fire castoff kits, which might have been better for the Timbers as they have yet to lose to the Fire. The Timbers were in their NASL-style 3rd kits.
It would be the visitors who would surprise with the first goal scoring chance, when in the 6th minute, Jesus Gonzalez had a dipping shot from 20 yards out that forced Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins to tip the shot over the bar. Three minutes later the Timbers had their first good chance, with David Horst getting his head on a free kick, but the shot was right at Cal FC goalkeeper Derby Carrillo. You might want to keep the phrase “right at the Cal FC keeper” handy, I’m going to be using it a lot.
In the 16th minute, Horst was in the middle of the action again when he headed a corner kick back across the goal mouth to defender Jack Jewsbury, who attempted an awkward side volley that was well over the crossbar. Five minutes, it wasPortland’s Jorge Perlaza chasing a nice through ball as he slipped in behind the Cal FC defense, but Carrillo was just able to get to the ball to clear it off Perlaza’s foot.
In the 23rd minute, the Timbers had their best chance up to this point when Darlington Nagbe had an open look from the top of the box, but instead of powering a shot, appeared to attempt to place the ball but did so with no pace. This would also be a theme on the night.
It was Jewsbury with another good attempt in the 35th minute, this time slipping just inside the corner of the box, and was just wide left with a hard shot. The last chance of a first half would also be for the home side, with Eric Alexander making a nice run around the Cal FC defense, going for the upper right corner with a curling shot, but missing a yard wide and high. At the half the score would be 0-0, and visions of Hollywood United starting worrying the minds of many Timbers fans.
Just after the half, it was Horst again trying to head the Timbers in front, getting a well paced shot off a free kick that slipped just past the right post. In the 62nd minute, the Timbers would again re-live on of their problems of the first half, with Kalif Alhassan having an open look near the top of the box, but again attempted to side-foot a placed shot instead of putting any power on the shot, and again Carrillo had no problem snagging the save.
In the 67th minute, a flubbed Timbers shot nearly paid dividends when Kris Boyd badly missed a shot at the top of the Cal FC box, but the ball fell nicely to the feet of Brent Richards, who appeared to be surprised that he was so open (and onside) and promptly blasted a shot over the crossbar from near the penalty spot. Keep this one in mind too, it will have a revival later. Less than a minute later it was the Timbers on the attack again, with Perlaza finding Richards open with a good look on a header, but it was also over the crossbar.
In the 71st minute Cal FC made one of their few threatening runs on the second half, with former Timber Mike Randolph making a nice run down the left side, putting a low shot that could have been a misplaced hard cross, but required a good save by Perkins at the near post.
The action was clearly increasing in pace as the Timbers were feeling the pressure of needing to find a way to threaten the Cal FC goal, with Richards once again getting a good look on a nice overlap run, but once again put the shot well over the crossbar. One minute later it was Alhassan making a nice deep run on the opposite side, and slipping a shot across the goal mouth and wide left from a tight angle. One minute later, the Timbers would once again threaten on a corner kick, with Hanyer Mosquera getting one of the hardest Timbers shots of the night on net, but once again it was right at Carrillo for the easy save.
Then in the 79th minute, the Timbers would get the break they had been looking for, when a cross was stopped by the hand of Cal FC midfielder Richard Manijivar and center referee William Niccolls pointed to the spot. It would be Boyd who would step up to take the kick, and promptly blasted a shot over the crossbar and into the Timbers Army.
Trying to make up for his awful PK miss, Boyd had a chance to turn on a shot two minutes later, but the shot was once again right into the chest of Carrillo.
Three minutes later, Timbers fans hearts were stopped for a second as a Cal FC free kick bounced untouched through the Timbers crease, but fortunately no blue jerseys were there to knock the shot home.
For the remainder of regulation it was the Cal FC packed in particularly tight, and the Timbers only had a few good chances to take the win, both in stoppage time with Boyd going wide left, then Perlaza with a golden opportunity for the late winner when he made an unmarked run into the box to the Cal FC keeper’s left, but appeared undecided on a shot or a pass, and just ended up with a weak shot across the goal mouth, and therefore the match was going to go into 30 minutes of extra time.
The 30 minutes of extra time would have almost as much action as the first 90 minutes combined, with the first chance coming four minutes in when Portland’s Ryan Kawulok’s curling shot was right at Carrillo. Kawulok (a defender) had come on before overtime for forward Kris Boyd, which was the last Timbers substitute.
But just a minute later, the Timbers would pay dearly for their almost constant run of pressure when forward Artur Aghasyan slipped in behind the pushed-up defensive line and when a through ball found him suddenly in behind the entire Timbers defense, he had a long run towards Perkins, who stayed on his line until the last minute, but was chipped softly by Aghasyan and the ball settled into the net in front of the Timbers Army, and despite 95 minutes of near one-way traffic for the Timbers, the amateur Southern California team who sits 9th in their 12 team league was up 1-0.
Five minutes later, it was Portland’s Freddie Braun trying to level the score with a low tight angle shot that Carrillo would smother. One minute later, it would be Jewsbury taking a free kick from just outside the Cal FC box, and though he would curl the shot around the wall, the ball had no pace and Carrillo had no trouble stopping it. Then, just at the end of the first overtime period, it was Jewsbury again with a chance to level the score, wide open at the top of the Cal FC box, but repeating one of the favorite themes on the night, blasted well over the crossbar, and the visitors would carry a 1-0 lead into the last 15 minutes of overtime.
Three minutes into the second overtime, the Timbers would finally force a good save from the Cal FC keeper as Perlaza’s header forced a diving save by Carrillo, and just barely kept the ball outside the goal as he fell to the ground. Two minutes later it was Nagbe with a good chance on a header, but once again it was an easy save for Carrillo, who by this time was chesting the ball to the ground on the easy shots, buying extra time before he had to pick up the ball. The Cal FC players were also going down frequently with cramping during the overtime period, and were obviously gassed but still withstanding the Timbers barrage.
In the 111th minute, the Timbers nearly gave up a second goal with few defenders back when Paulo Ferreira-Mendez having an open header at the far post, but missing wide left. On the counterattack, it was Portland’s Alhassan making a nice pass into the run of Richards as he charged into the box, but once again the shot was blasted over the crossbar from close in. Cal FC’s Aghasyan also had a good chance on the counterattack with the Timbers having almost everyone forward, but his tight angle shot was just over the bar.
In the 114th minute, Perlaza would miss just wide right from 20 yards out, and two minutes later, it was Nagbe also deciding shots from outside the box must be the answer, and also missing wide right. In the 118th minute, Alhassan made another good run down the left side, but his low hard cross was smothered by Carrillo.
In the final minute of stoppage time, it was an odd decision by Niccolls that gave the Timbers another chance when they probably shouldn’t have had one. With the final seconds of stoppage time ticking off the clock, Jewsbury was obviously bleeding from a cut on his head with his hands and jersey covered with blood, and when he left the field to be attended to, Carrillo held up play to allow Jewsbury to be attended to, though he was off the pitch in front of the Timbers bench. Though Jewsbury eventually returned with a headband and a new jersey but blood still spattered on his shorts, the Timbers had one final corner kick chance but the kick was low and easily cleared, and seconds later the amateurs would celebrate what will likely go down as the biggest upset in US Open Cup history, a 1-0 victory over Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers on the big boys home pitch.
The Cal FC players did shot a lot of class after the match and applauded the Timbers fans, who responded with a boisterous “Beat Seattle!” chant, which the Cal FC players danced to.
The official game stats would tell the story of the Timbers futility. Shots were 37-8 in favor of the Timbers, shots on goal were 15-3 in favor, corner kicks were 11-3 in favor, and Cal FC’s Carrillo had 15 saves compared to Perkins’ 2. But the only number that meant anything was the 1-0 result on the scoreboard.