Cal FC shocks Timbers, completes U.S. Open Cup fourth-round field


The U.S. Open Cup dream is still very much alive for Cal FC. 

Former Real Salt Lake forward Artur Aghasyan's goal in the fifth minute of extra time gave the United States Adult Soccer Association side a stunning 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field Wednesday night and sealed the club's unlikely place in the fourth round.

Aghasyan's goal, the first one ever scored by a USASA team against an MLS team, came in the midst of a number of missed chances for the Timbers, none more golden than Kris Boyd's 80th-minute penalty kick, which the Designated Player forward missed badly.

The result capped a round in which half of the MLS participants were eliminated by lower-tier teams, making for some potential deep Cinderella runs. Two amateur sides remain — Cal FC and Michigan Bucks — and two of the fourth-round matchups are guaranteed to be won by non-MLS teams. 

Here are all of the fourth-round matchups for the U.S. Open Cup:

U.S. OPEN CUP FOURTH ROUND (all games June 5)

Carolina RailHawks vs. Chivas USA, 7:07 p.m.

Harrisburg City Islanders vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Michigan Bucks vs. Dayton Dutch Lions, 7:30 p.m.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids, 8:30 p.m.

San Antonio Scorpions vs. Charlotte Eagles, 8:30 p.m.

Seattle Sounders vs. Cal FC, 10:30 p.m.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Minnesota Stars FC, 11 p.m.


What did you think of this past round of the Open Cup? Are you on the Cal FC bandwagon? Which teams do you see advancing to the quarterfinals?

Share your thoughts below.

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65 Responses to Cal FC shocks Timbers, completes U.S. Open Cup fourth-round field

  1. This really is a great story. I am a casual MLS fan, but this run has captured my attention. Hopefully this and the other upsets gives the USOC a shot in the arm. link to

  2. ives!
    no cajones?
    no mention of wynalda- wynalda?
    sure you ‘re not on mls payroll?
    this is a great story not to overshadow the other teams that upset mls sides.
    us soccer must be finally getting it
    david beating goliath sells!!!

  3. b says:

    This is good for the US Open Cup but embarrassing for MLS teams if their bench players (and designated players!) can’t beat a bunch of amateurs.

  4. Ivar Clam man says:

    ha.. ptfc

  5. eddie says:

    Casual adult soccer players beat MLS club. Are the Portland Timbers really a professional soccer club? This really makes you wonder.

  6. b says:

    How does Ives not mentioning Wynalda mean he is on MLS’ payroll when MLS’ ExtraTime Radio podcast had Wynalda on as a guest prior to the game?
    Why do people come up with such stupid conspiracy theories that don’t make any sense, do you really not have anything better to do with your time?

  7. Gnarls (ex-Galaxy fan, current Cal FC fanboy) says:

    The changes made to the USOC were brilliant. The inclusion of all US based MLS, NASL and USL teams has paid dividends in terms of fan interest and competition level. Paying off lower div teams for home field advantage stinks a little, but makes financial sense for all parties.

    Wake the hell up, MLS. This tournament is more exciting than 90% of the MLS regular season. Take it seriously and it will grow.

    Go Cal FC! Go Bucks!

  8. Gnarls (ex-Galaxy fan, current Cal FC fanboy) says:

    Might be a good article, but we’ll never know because your link got cut off.

  9. Ryan says:

    Up the lower divisions for the next round! (except Harrisburg 😉

    I will watch the Sounders Cal game

  10. Gnarls (ex-Galaxy fan, current Cal FC fanboy) says:

    In the long run it will be good for both the USOC and MLS. When teams like Portland & Chicago get embarrassed by pub league teams, and six other MLS teams are beaten by lower div teams, it’s a wake up call. I bet next year we’ll see MLS take the USOC more seriously, thus the “MLS Massacre of 2012″ will not repeat in 2013.

  11. Mike says:

    Okay this is hands down the worst loss in MLS history by such a large margin that I can’t even comprehend this.

    USASA is an amateur league. When I was in the Fire youth system, my U16 team and U17 team beat these guys.

    I mean is this a joke? Seriously?

  12. quite apparent,you don’t have a sense “for”humor!

  13. oh yes i theorise you are the mls corporate mole trying to snuff any criticism of mls – caught you don!!!

  14. Greg says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I wish I had pictures of that stupid guy who cuts the logs when that amateur player chipped his keeper. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  15. lassidawg says:

    This is going to be fun for many years to say to Timber fans

    CAL FC & Hollywood United

  16. JL says:

    To be fair, these guys aren’t amateur players, they are ex-pro’s. They may play for an amateur team, ie make no money, but a lot of them were pros in MLS and lower divisions. Kudos to them for holding on to the dream. It’s also funny that apparently they don’t do that great in their local league..

  17. two headed coin says:

    support promotion and relegation!!

  18. Mike says:

    They are amateurs.

    There are 250,000 people in the USASA league. Not a chance any of these guys ever sniffed an MLS roster.

  19. Wispy says:

    I’ll bet Artur Aghasyan could easily sniff an MLS roster when he was actually playing at RSL. Read the article, Mike.

  20. Chris says:

    Wrong, some have. I don’t know them all off the top of my head but Mike Randoplh played for the Galaxy and Artur Aghasyan played for RSL at least.

    Still an amazing achievement though, congrats to them.

  21. Chunter16 says:

    This reminds me of Roma FC of Dallas some time ago, shockers like this help keep our top flight serious and show that maybe the gulf between the major and minor leagues isn’t as big as you might think. I still worry that MLS growth comes at the expense of the grassroots system though, I hope the situation will continue to be handled with care.

  22. Jason says:

    You’re wrong, look at some of the experience on the Cal FC roster:

    link to

  23. Helium-3 says:

    Hey Eddie, I’m pretty sure you are as ignorant as your statement. You obviously have never seen Cal FC play.

    Cal FC are not a bunch of casual adult players. They are amateurs because they do not play for a professional team, but they are in fact professional level players.

    I watched them for the 1st time last night and was very impressed of their ability. They were every bit as good (if not better) than the Timbers in regards to technical and tactical ability. I could see why MLS passed on them because they lacked the physical attributes (speed, size) desired by MLS teams.

    Artur Aghasyan is very good but does not have the break away speed needed in MLS. I remember seeing him as a sub last year in the CCL matches for RSL. Too bad he did not get more time there but I hope he gets another chance by teams who appreciate technical players e.g., DCU, Chicago.

  24. Greg says:


  25. Mike says:

    Ah, well I stand corrected then!

  26. Helium-3 says:

    At the college level and up, it is not down to technical/tactical skill that represents the disparity, but rather physical attributes. If you watch pro players vs high school, the skill is not so high above high school level, but the pro players speed and size are what separates the men from the boys. e.g., pro players first step/quickness allow them to break away from high school/college level players.

  27. Gnarls (ex-Galaxy fan, current Cal FC fanboy) says:

    Seriously, days like this make me think it could work. But then I remember soccer is still a niche sport without sustainable fan support in most markets. Sorry, not yet.

  28. Mike Fucito says:

    Trade me!

  29. Mike Fucito says:


  30. Furry Jeff says:

    Hahahahaha that’s the most
    Absurd thing I’ve ever heard. You should be banned from talking about or watching soccer for life because of that comment. High school soccer players have same tech/tact. ability? Hahaha oh man you are funny. Good one, helium 3.

  31. Helium-3 says:

    Jeff you failed at reading comprehension. Fact. You probably are one of those fat fans who never played the game, i.e., armchair soccer player/coach.

    I said “the skill is not so high above high school level”. This does not imply pro level tech/tact are same as high school. The gap is not as great as you think. Take for example the top school player vs avg MLS player, this is why you have guys like Najar that can play MLS without too much difficulty. How did Najar jump from high school to MLS if the gap was so great between high school and pro players regarding technical/tactical ability???

  32. Helium-3 says:

    Look at Fagundez too. Do you see his technical/tactical skill just as good if not better than avg MLS player???? Sure he may not have the speed and strength yet as he’s still developing.

  33. Elliot says:

    This is an awesome tournament, hopefully lower teams develop the strong fan bases that can keep it alive.

  34. Elliot says:

    I think the ultimate goal should be to have a system like every other country with relegation and promotion between leagues. Keep everyone on their toes.

  35. Furry Jeff says:

    So maybe 5 high school aged players can make the jump to the pros, but even fewer succeed. To say that the high school level is even close to the same as a whole is a joke. Even with that, you are saying high school level when you probably mean academy level. Two very different things. Ask an academy coach what he thinks of your comments. He would laugh and say know they are many years behind tech./tact. It is no argument. Go ahead, ask an academy coach.

  36. k says:

    I think I hear a new song being written in Seattle.

  37. Kejsare says:

    Is a former RSL player a pub players?

  38. Kejsare says:

    You really are speaking from ignorance. About than half the players have played professionally before.

  39. Kejsare says:

    He couldn’t do anything about the game. He was injured.

  40. Chunter16 says:

    I relate, from watching matches in person. The explosiveness is not as apparent on TV. The opposite of this problem, where players who have the physique but not the tactical skill, is the cause of these upsets. That’s what make these matches important.

  41. Kenny Cooper says:

    I would’ve buried that penalty kick..

    I guess Charleston 2nd divisionn is easier to score on the Cal FC

  42. MidWest Ref says:

    A little over the top there Helium – 3. How is anyone supposed to have seen Cal FC – an amateur team play?

    That being said, I think the recent losses of MLS squads in this round of the US Open Cup should be embarassing to the MLS teams, and Eddie is right to call the Timbers out for what appears to be a poor performance.

  43. MidWest Ref says:

    But they aren’t now. Are you trying to defend Portland, or just insult Mike.

    In my opnion, any MLS club who lost to an amateur side or a PDL side should be embarrassed.

  44. Chunter16 says:

    I agree based on watching matches in person. The explosiveness doesn’t show on TV in quite the same way. What makes the cup matches important is that players with physique but not the tactical skill get found out and hopefully learn from the experience.

  45. MidWest Ref says:

    I don’t understand your point. Regardless of experience, Cal FC is currently an amateur side. An MLS team should not lose to amateurs.

  46. Helium-3 says:

    Game was streamed live last night from Timbers website. If Eddie saw the game, I’m sure he would not have made such a statement they were a bunch of casual adult soccer players.

  47. Knuckles says:

    Calling him a former RSL player is a little disingenuous. Yes, he played for RSL. For what, three months? It’s not like he was a key roster component.

  48. Helium-3 says:

    I’m not referring to the avg high school/academy kid who pays $ 2k+ to learn how to play soccer. The ones I’m talking about are the elite level high school/academy players because at this age, they should know already the basic technical skill to trap/shoot/head the ball, when/where to make the pass vs. dribble. They are elite level because they grew up playing the game everyday and watch more soccer when they get home. They don’t waste time watching sports center, NBA, baseball, etc.. instead of soccer.

    These elite players already have the required technical/tactical ability to play MLS. They might not be quick, fast, or have the explosive first step like the pro players yet.

  49. Gnarls (ex-Galaxy fan, current Cal FC fanboy) says:

    “Is a former RSL player a pub players?”

    Yes. He and others currently play in a pub league whose website looks like it was designed by a 6th grader taking an HTML class.

  50. Eurosnob says:

    Helium-3, eddie might not know much about Cal FC, but he is right to start asking questions about this result. As you probably know, Cal FC is an amature team that Wynalda put together about a month ago out of the players that MLS and lower league teams did not want. Portland Timbers are the top division team. When the seven MLS teams were beat by lower division teams earlier this week, the main excuse was that they did not play their starters. What’s the excuse now, when MLS starters lost to an AMATURE team that was put together about a month ago? Does MLS select the best players or the best athletes that are suitable to the kick and run style? Are the coaches who make these selections qualified? Why are these Cal FC guys not in the MLS? I think that you have some good insights in your post. You note that Cal FC guys may be better technically than the MLS players they faced, but were not offered spots on MLS teams because of their speed and size. Does that mean that MLS values size/speed over technical skill?

  51. Mark says:

    Congrats to Wynalda and his team on a very big victory. Portland paying to get the home field advantage and then losing the game is icing on the cake. I have nothing against Portland or RSL, but if you’re going to pay to get a home game, you had damn well better win the game so you don’t look stupid.

  52. DCLee says:

    This tourney is great!

  53. DCLee says:

    Cal FC is in 9th place in their own Rec league too (:

  54. nick says:

    In the MLS team’s defense, i think them “buying” home field advantage is more for the amateur team’s benefit as they get a nice chunk for change from it that can help with a bunch of stuff (equipment, youth teams, field time).

  55. ben in el cajon says:

    Actually, b is right. This last MLS extra time podcast has an interview with Wynalda, so it’s unlikely that MLS is trying to keep him out of the spotlight.

  56. eddie says:

    Back at you there pal, with your blatant ignorance. No I haven’t seen Cal FC, because there amateurs who are not paid for their ability, nor are the games televised in North Carolina. Cal FC, a no name team at the lowest level, should not have beaten a team with Designated Players who are paid hundredths of thousands of dollars. You missed the point of embarrassment to the MLS.

    Think a little before you post next time!

  57. Northzax says:

    The cup should be the greatest thing in us soccer since sliced bread. Seriously. We love march madness, when Southern Mississippi Baptist Tech beats Duke (ok, everyone loves it when anyone beats Duke) but still. Upset city. We love that stuff.

  58. dmg-n-füls says:

    thspell check

  59. bigbadmike says:

    .A little over two months ago U.S. Soccer Hall-of-Famer Eric Wynalda assembled Cal FC, a team whose expressed goal was to make a run in the 99th edition of the nation’s oldest soccer tournament, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

    Cal FC, which is made up of a band of players that didn’t quite stick on the professional rosters of teams throughout U.S. Soccer’s top two divisions as well as lower level clubs in a handful of countries ranging from Mexico to Serbia, has made a run through the first two rounds. Its reward is a third-round date with the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field this Wednesday (7:30pm PT, Webstream at, 750 AM The Game).

    The Path to Portland

    To reach this stage of the tournament, Cal FC (above, in red) began its journey by qualifying for the Open Cup through the U.S. Adult Soccer Association Region IV finals alongside fellow Southern Calinfonia side PSA Elite. Wearing Chicago Fire kits from two seasons ago, Cal FC lost 2-0 to PSA in the USASA Region IV final and were thus sent to Bremerton, Washington to face the Kitsap Pumas of the United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup.

    A 3-1 victory victory over the PDL’s defending champions booked Cal FC a second-round tie at Legion Stadium in Wilmington, N.C. against the Wilmington Hammerheads, who finished runners up in the USL Pro division–the third tier of American professional soccer–last season.

    Faced with their first test against a fully professional side, a nascent Cal FC romped to a 4-0 victory, stunning the Hammerheads as well as Wynalda.

    “Tonight was a good demonstration of what the guys are capable of at times, good and bad,” Wynalda told the Wilmington (N.C.) StarNews after the upset. “All in all, I’m very happy with them. I think they’ve come together remarkably, in a very short span of time.”

    Team Makeup

    Wynalda, a commentator for Fox Soccer Channel, coaches Cal FC with fellow contributer Nick Webster. With the help of L.A. banker and longtime friend Michael Friedman, who acts as the team’s manager, Wynalda filled out Cal FC’s roster with Southern California-based players that had starred at local high schools and colleges, but hadn’t permanently latched on with professional teams.

    “This team is mainly formed from this local area – Thousand Oaks – that went to college and came back,” Friedman told in an earlier interview. “Then we held a tryout and the players that came out surprised us. The talent is really high.”

    The team played all of five games together in La Gran Liga De Oxnard, winning two and losing three, before entering the seven-team USASA Region IV tournament that qualified it for the Open Cup.

    Despite playing so little together, the Cal FC players have developed a team bond and chemistry derived from a familiarity from often having played against one another in the numerous Los Angeles area soccer circles.

    Players of Note

    The team features two pair of brothers, Paulo and Pedro Ferreira-Mendez and the potent Colombian-born, midfield duo of Diego and Danny Barrera. Both the Barreras have played in the PDL, gone on trials in Europe (with Danny spending last season in Serbia with first division side FK Spartak Zlatibor Voda) and have seen time in the U.S. youth national team setup with the U-18 team.

    Danny is currently tied as the Open Cup’s leading scorer with four goals to his name; he scored two each against Kitsap and Wilmington.

    Not far behind Danny in Cal FC’s scoring ranks is Artur Aghasyan with two goals. Most recently Aghasyan had trials with MLS sides Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA, and the Armenian import has also seen time with the Armenian National Team at the U-19, U-20 and U-23 age levels.

    Other players who have spent time on the fringes of MLS squads include former UCLA standout Eder Arreola who was a first-round pick of the Houston Dynamo in January’s 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft as well as Mike Randolph, the oldest player on Cal FC’s roster at 26.

    Randolph’s first professional team was none other than the USL version of the Portland Timbers. He made 25 appearances for the club in 2006 and was one of three finalists for the USL First Division Rookie of the Year award. His early displays earned him a shot with the LA Galaxy, for whom he eventually made 39 appearances over two seasons.

    Richard Menjivar, a midfielder, played at Cal State Bakersfield as a transfer from Evansville. He recently was part of the the El Salvador Men’s National Team U-23 squad that drew 3-3 against the U.S. U-23 team earlier this spring–a result that knocked the U.S. out of the 2012 Olympic group qualifying stage.

    With a one-and-done tournament set-up, both teams will be vying to move on to the fourth round where the winner will take on the victor of the Seattle Sounders FC vs. Atlanta Silverbacks match which is also happening Wednesday night in Tukwila, WA.

    Starting at $10, tickets for the Timbers’ U.S. Open Cup match are available for purchase at the JELD-WEN Field box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

  60. eddie says:

    This explains the technical background and why they have some success. Although impressive for an amateur club put together in a months time, this should send shock waves around the soccer community in America. Perhaps MLS clubs need to take the CUP more seriously. Also, the tickets for admission seem rather low and I understand the CUP hasn’t developed enough nor does it have the visibility to warrant higher ticket cost.

    I still think, as well as many others that this was a total embarrassment for MLS clubs as a whole and not just the Cal FC vs Portland game, but others too. I guess in the end, this will only further strengthen the game in America.

    Thanks for sharing the background information.

  61. joekir says:

    If any of you live in the Central Florida area, I challenge you to come visit Plant City, FL on Saturday nights at the complex behind Hillsborough Community College and take in a couple Mexican League games. I would put money on a few of these teams could compete very well in the USOC tournament. The league is full of Central American immigrants and former and current college and pro players.

    I’m sure there is a ton of similar leagues around the country that MLS/NASL/USL scouts are not even bothering to look for talent. There are guys playing in these leagues that didn’t attend college or even play in any of the high dollar youth/academy clubs because of their families economic situation and thus have fallen through the cracks in not getting noticed.

    In other parts of the world, especially in Central and South America, these are the exact same type of leagues that some of the greatest players were discovered. These leagues provide a player to be as creative as they can because they are not “coached to death”.

    I know I’m a little off topic here, but it all falls into the same scenerio. This tournament could really help this sport explode in this country if taken seriously by MLS teams as well as the smaller pro and amature clubs doing well. In the future I see a situation happening similar to what happend when the AFL and NFL leagues merged or when the NBA and ABA merged. You are going to see the NASL or USL or both become more and more competitive to a point where they will be just as good as any MLS 1st team. NASL and USL teams are beginning to build their own stadiums, their attendances are growing every year. Some of them are even forming their own youth academy systems. ie Orlando City has a full developmental system from 1st team to U23 team all the way down to U6 youth.

  62. yankiboy says:

    C’mon Knuckles. Really, Playah? Did you really go there, Bro.

    “He was a former on field employee for RSL who suited up and played in a few matches.”

    Are you more comfortable with that?

  63. Kejsare says:

    Portland never paid for this match. The arrangement was only with Wilmington

  64. Kejsare says:

    They never got a dime from Portland. Arrangement was only with Wilmington.