LOS ANGELES -- When the Portland Timbers become the first side to visit Banc of California Stadium for a second time in their midweek U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal tie with LAFC on Wednesday (10:30 pm ET), one of two impressive streaks will come to an end.
Across all competitions for both sides, LAFC are undefeated in their 11 home matches and Portland haven’t lost a match anywhere in their last 14.
Something has to give.
The two sides met in league play Sunday, drawing 0-0, on a scorching Los Angeles afternoon.
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“We have an idea already for Wednesday, but we have to make sure that we revise the plan and be ready,” said Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese ahead of the Open Cup contest.
Both sides spoke to a need to be aggressive if they are going to advance.
“I think that in [U.S. Open] Cup games you have to go for it,” said Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. “Both teams will take more chances.”
His opposite number, LAFC’s Tyler Miller, shrugged off a question in Sunday’s post game about the potential for penalties, insisting that he won’t undergo any special training in anticipation of a shootout.
Zimmerman echoed the sentiment, expecting the home side to go for goals early and often.
“[U.S.] Open Cup is knockout,” he said. “It’s not one of those games where you’re looking to play 120 minutes and go to PK’s. We want to finish it in regulation, so I think you will see us go for it quite a bit, searching for an early goal, ideally, but I think we’ll probably have a little bit more success going forward.”
Of course, more than just form is on the line Wednesday night.
While the Timbers are hoping to win the U.S Open Cup for the first time in club history, LAFC hope to lift the oldest trophy in American soccer in just its first MLS season — a feat only the Seattle Sounders (2009) and Bradley's own Chicago Fire (1998), were able to accomplish during their expansion campaign.
Carlos Vela, who is expected to make his first appearance in the knockout competition, believes the occasion will make for a better match and another chance for LAFC to prove themselves.
“It’s a great opportunity because when you play for everything in one game, it’s more exciting, a stronger game,” the Mexican international said. “We’re really close to being in the semifinals in the first season, so I think the club is doing really well. Everything is going in a good direction, so now it’s time to finish the job, now it’s time to show we’re a good team. We want to make a hard impact in the first season, so this is the moment to be a good team and I hope we can show it Wednesday.”