Earthquakes appear in Portland

PGE Park, Portland, Ore.; 7 p.m. PT

IN THE U.S. OPEN CUP: The Timbers participated in the Open Cup tournament proper last year for the first time ever. They defeated the PSL Utah Blitzz 2-1 in the second round, before falling 0-3 to the San Jose Earthquakes in the third round.

THIS YEAR: The Timbers passed their first test in the Open Cup this year, defeating arch-rival Seattle Sounders 3-2 at PGE Park in the third round (Hugo Alcaraz 15, Dan Antoniuk 59 pen). By virtue of their 2004 record, the Timbers entered the competition at the third round along with three other teams; the other four eligible USL First Division sides entered the Open Cup at the second round.

FORM GUIDE: The Timbers are in 10th place in the USL First Division with 20 points from 17 matches, one behind the Minnesota Thunder and 18 out of first place. They haven't won in six league games, but played to a 1-1 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 14 in their last match. Byron Alvarez and Dan Antoniuk both lead the Timbers with five goals on the campaign.


IN THE U.S. OPEN CUP: The Earthquakes advanced farther than they ever had before in the U.S. Open Cup a year ago, reaching the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Kansas City Wizards 1-0. For five consecutive years from 1997 to 2002, the Earthquakes reached the quarterfinals - where they were dumped out each time - before they were stunned 1-0 by the Seattle Sounders in their opening fourth-round match in 2003. ... Each of the three previous seasons, the Quakes fell to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the quarterfinals, losing 2-0 in Fullerton in 2000, on penalties at home in 2001 after a 1-1 draw, then 1-0 in 2002. They also lost on penalties to the Chicago Fire in 1998 and to the D3 Pro League San Francisco Bay Seals in 1997. ... The Quakes have lost just twice to lower-division competition in 11 Open Cup matches - they've met MLS teams on just five occasions in the competition (and three of those against the Galaxy).

LAST YEAR: The Earthquakes won three matches - their best-ever run in the U.S. Open Cup - before losing in the semifinals. In the fourth round, they knocked off a 10-man Portland Timbers in the fourth round. Gavin Wilkinson was sent off after 18 minutes after Brian Ching converted the resulting penalty from the foul, sending the Quakes on their way, also getting goals from Ramiro Corrales (55) and Dwayne De Rosario (80). In the semifinals, the A-League Minnesota Thunder nearly completed the California Double, extended the Earthquakes to a penalty shootout before losing after a 2-2 draw over 120 minutes (Tarley 4, Branan 77 - Ching 24, Donovan 63) ... The Earthquakes then lost in the semifinals, an Igor Simutenkov penalty in the second half the only goal at Arrowhead Stadium.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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