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Portland Timbers withdraw protest of LAFC’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal win

July 18, 2018; Los Angeles , CA, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) moves the ball against Portland Timbers defender Vytautas Andriuskevicius (5) and the defense during the second half at Banc of California Stadium. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

The Portland Timbers have withdrawn their protest of the number of foreign players fielded by Los Angeles FC during the teams’ quarterfinal match Wednesday at Banc of California Stadium. LAFC won the match 3-2.

The Timbers officially informed the U.S. Open Cup Commissioner of their decision Friday, according to a statement released by U.S. Soccer. 

“After a thorough review of the Portland Timbers’ official protest, it has been determined that the inclusion of additional foreign players was a result of a good faith misunderstanding among U.S. Soccer, Major League Soccer and Los Angeles Football Club,” the statement read. “Each organization involved has agreed to determine an improved process to ensure this will not happen again. In recognition of this fact, the Timbers have gracefully withdrawn their protest.”

LAFC also released a statement from John Thorrington, the club’s vice president of soccer operations and general manager, which said, “We are pleased the situation has been resolved. From the start, we proactively did our due diligence with U.S. Soccer to ensure our roster was compliant with U.S. Open Cup guidelines. We have stayed within those guidelines throughout the tournament and will continue to do so moving forward. We are excited to turn our attention to taking on the Houston Dynamo in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinals.”

The protested occurred after LAFC fielded six foreign players during the match. U.S. Open Cup rules say teams may have no more than five foreign players on their game-day rosters and if a team plays an ineligible player, it is subject to “fines or other penalties, including game forfeiture.”

The six foreign players who took the field for LAFC were Laurent Ciman (Belgium), Adama Diomande (Norway), Diego Rossi (Uruguay), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Canada), Marco Urena (Costa Rica) and Carlos Vela (Mexico).

The confusion came over Kaye, a Canadian academy product. Under MLS rules, he counts as a domestic player, but not under U.S. Open Cup rules.

It was not the only controversy in the match. Diomande also said an LAFC player called him a racial slur during the game. The Timbers are investigating the incident.

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