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Timbers cruise to 2-0 win, Open Cup quarterfinals

The fourth-round game of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup between the Portland Timbers and the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL was not generally expected to be much of a contest. That was highlighted by the sparse crowd of 5,931 at Jeld-Wen Field Wednesday night.

And the Timbers' 2-0 win was nothing the people in attendance are likely to recount to their grandchildren 50 years from now. The soccer was sloppy as the Timbers sent nine reserve players onto the pitch.

“Our simple goal is to win and advance,” Portland coach Caleb Porter said. “We went with some guys who haven’t played much and some guys who have. In the end, it was the right mix.”

Even Porter, as finely coifed as ever, was not immune to the ugliness of the match. In the first half, he was knocked to the turf while standing in the coaches box after midfielder Michael Nanchoff, fresh off his first goal in a Timbers uniform, fell into him.

“Our team was very focused and hungry, and they were so hungry they were trying to tackle everyone, even the coach on the sideline,” Porter said, smiling. “I tried to jump it, but my legs aren’t as nimble as they used to be.

"I’m not as mad at him because of that first goal. He was probably trying to get back at me for a lot of yelling at him.”

Portland will go on the road to face FC Dallas in the quarterfinals on June 26. FC Dallas defeated the Houston Dynamo 3-0 Wednesday.

This Timbers were seeking their first trip to the quarterfinals, and the Rowdies were looking for another upset like their 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders 1-0 in the third round.

Portland took a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. Nanchoff outraced two Tampa Bay defenders to a ball in the box. Only Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was left standing between him and the back of the net. Nanchoff played the bouncing ball in the air with his right foot and sent a shot inside the right post.

“It was pretty simple,” Nanchoff said. “It was a loose ball, I believe off a header. It bounced once, and I was lucky enough to pounce on it and hit it back post.”

After the goal, the Timbers seemed to lose focus, and they finished the half with only five shots, three shots on goal. The Rowdies managed only one shot.

At halftime, the Porter tried to spark some life into his listless club by inserting Jack Jewsbury for Diego Valeri.

Jewsbury did exactly what the Timbers needed in the 55th minute. Strike Frederic Piquionne headed Nanchoff's free kick into the box onto the unmarked Jewsbury, who slid, got his boot on the ball and

sent it past Restrepo to put the Timbers up 2-0.

“We had a set piece in the middle of the field,” Jewsbury said. “I knew Nanchoff was going to deliver a good ball, and Freddy is a big body in there and does well in the air. I just wanted to get on the back post incase he flicked it back. He did. I beat my guy there and luckily got it in the back of the net.”

Portland will play host to FC Dallas in an MLS match at 2 p.m. Saturday, and visit the Los Angeles Galaxy at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Portland will then welcome the Colorado Rapids to Jeld-Wen Field at 4 p.m. on June 23.

“It’s not easy,” Porter said, of the stretch. “That’s a gauntlet. That’s why we need a team, one through 30.”