Los Angeles FC fell to the Portland Timbers 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night in front of an announced crowd of 18,947 fans at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California.
Jeremy Ebobisse’s 84th minute strike for the Timbers was all that separated the two teams.
Portland’s head coach Giovanni Savarese was unable to travel to Los Angeles for the match, as he was addressing a family emergency. Assistant coach Carlos Llamosa, who coincidentally finished his MLS playing career in Los Angeles with Chivas USA, led the Timbers for this match.
The history between these two teams came through loud and clear in the first half: the play was quick and the challenges were physical. Portland knocked LAFC out in the quarterfinals of last year’s Open Cup tournament and were looking to do the same this year.
The Timbers had the more dangerous opportunities in the first half, as LAFC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega was forced to make several stellar saves toward the end of the half, denying Brian Fernandez in the 31st minute and Marvin Loria in the 32nd. Sisniega came up big for LAFC and kept the game scoreless heading into the second half.
Causing concern to most LAFC fans in attendance was a moment in the 80th minute, when Carlos Vela — the leader in the MLS Golden Boot race — took a hit and was attended to by athletic trainers. He was able to finish out the match, but not without a slight limp for the remainder of the night.
Jul 10, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles FC midfielder Eduard Atuesta (20) is tripped up by Portland Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala (33) during the first half at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
The match seemed destined for extra time until Ebobisse found the game winner in the 84th minute of play. Brian Fernandez was attempting to dribble into the 18-yard box, but was cut off by Jordan Harvey, who mistakenly put the ball at the feet of Ebobisse. With a tough angle, Ebobisse was able to slot the ball past Sisniega to give the Timbers the late lead.
One final glimmer of hope came for LAFC in stoppage time when Adama Diomande lifted the ball in the direction of Vela, who was attempting a bicycle kick, but was blocked by Timbers defender Zarek Valentin.
The Timbers move on to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup and will face Minnesota United on either August 6 or 7, depending on the draw scheduled for Thursday afternoon.