Cal FC, an amateur adult league club, should have never been able to compete with the Major League Soccer Portland Timbers in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
While the Timbers have trainers and state-of-the-art facilities, Cal FC has trouble just finding a place to train. Cal FC was only able to train once in the week leading up to the match against the Timbers, making Wednesday night's 1-0 loss at Jeld-Wen Field all the more unacceptable for Portland.
'We have limited resources,' Cal FC coach Eric Wynalda said. 'Finding a place to train is something we look for.'
• After beating the Timbers, could Cal FC compete in MLS?
Portland coach John Spencer respectfully said that he does not think so.
'They're a decent young team,' Spencer said. 'I don't think they're going to be able to compete in Major League Soccer on a daily basis, on a weekly basis. They came, they worked hard as young players that have been rejected from this level are going to do - they're going to come and try to put on a good performance.'
•• There was more than enough blame to go around for the Timbers' inability to put the ball in the back of the net after taking a staggering 37 shots. Of the 13 position players who stepped onto the pitch, only holding midfielder Diego Chara and defender Steven Smith did not take a shot.
Defender Jack Jewsbury led Portland with eight shots.
In 55 minutes of action, reserve striker Brent Richards took six shots. In the 67th minute alone, Richards ballooned two shots, a right-footed attempt from 16 yards and a header from seven yards, over the crossbar.
'I had several opportunities,' Richards says. 'I just didn't put it away. That comes down to concentration and maybe a little bit of nerves.'
Strikers Kris Boyd and Jorge Perlaza and midfielder Kalif Alhassan each took four shots.
'Everybody in the forward areas needs to have a look at themselves, and we must score,' Boyd said. 'When you have that many chances in a game, you must score. It's as simple as that. It's impossible to have that amount (of shots) and not score. We ain't happy with it.'
Said Spencer: 'Guys need to work harder in training, work harder at their finishing, make sure that when you get the opportunities you put the ball in the back of the net.'
••• As if missing four shots, including a penalty kick, did not make for a bad enough night, Boyd injured his Achilles' tendon in stoppage time.
The Scottish striker took a pass from Alhassan inside the 18-yard box. Boyd made a run into the 6-yard box and tried to shoot. Just as he pulled the trigger, Boyd was caught from behind by Cal FC defender Hector Espinosa.
The shot went wide right, and Boyd went down, clutching his leg.
Boyd was able to walk off the pitch under his own power, but he limped badly.
After the match, Boyd played the role of the brave soldier, saying that he would be fine.
'Just a little bit of a knock,' Boyd said. 'The boy hit the back of it (Achilles' tendon), and it was a bit tender, a bit sore, a bit painful after it. But it's fine.'
•••• As he said he would, Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins discarded his plastic face mask in favor of a rugby helmet. Perkins has been wearing the mask since he suffered lacerations to his nose in an April 28 match against the Montreal Impact. While stopping a run by midfielder Sanna Nyassi, Perkins took the spikes of Nyassi's boot to his nose.
Perkins has been practicing with the helmet for the last few weeks and said that he does not notice that he is wearing it anymore.
'It's something I'll probably wear for the rest of my career,' Perkins said. 'Too many guys have been taken out by what happened to me, and looking back on it, some stupid play, it's not something that I want to lose my career over.'
••••• What made losing the match to Cal FC even more difficult for the Timbers to stomach is that they lost an opportunity to host the Seattle Sounders in the next round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Bringing the Sounders to Portland would have been another chapter in the two clubs' storied rivalry. It would have given the Timbers' fans one more exciting match. And not unimportantly, it would have been a financial windfall for the
'It's just disappointing,' Perkins said. 'Especially in terms of the environment it would've brought, let alone a rivalry and an Open Cup game.'
•••••• The Timbers will have 18 days before they can step onto the pitch again, against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. That's a lot of time to think over a loss that left Spencer saying he felt 'embarrassed' and 'humiliated."
Spencer said he doesn't want the players to forget about the loss too quickly.
'Guys should go home and watch that game,' he said. 'Everybody wants to watch games when they get an assist and get a goal and do a bicycle kick and when things are good.
'(You should) go back and watch the games when you're doing well and watch the games even more when you're not playing so well. Those are the ones that they should go home and watch a couple of times and bring themselves back down to the earth.'
Even if they wanted to forget about the loss to Cal FC, the Timbers would not be able to do that.
'It's going to sting for a long time, and our fans are never going to let us to forget about this,' Perkins said. 'You can't throw it away. We're certainly going to look at it. But I don't know what you do with it.'