The Timbers put aside any doubt of any early exit from the US Open Cup on Wednesday night. Frederic Piquionne recorded a hat trick within the first 34 minutes of play in Portland’s 5-1 win over USL PRO team the Wilmington Hammerheads at Jeld-Wen Field.
The win showcased the night-and-day difference between last year’s team that was knocked out of the US Open Cup by USASA Cal FC and the current Portland Timbers side. Piquionne added a fourth goal before halftime as the team played up to their talent against a lackluster side. The forward’s sensational night was only the second time in both Cup and the club’s history that a player recorded four goals in a half. Timbers captain Will Johnson chipped in three assists on the night as he continued his run of consistent play in the midfield. Wilmington got one back in the 61st minute on a circus shot from midfielder Paul Nicholson but the Timbers quickly pushed the game out of reach on a Futty Danso header in the 73rd.
While the win seemed like a given heading into the match against a USL team, many MLS sides were knocked out of the cup. In a resounding upset, the NASL side, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, bounced the Seattle Sounders. In a match almost identical to Portland’s loss to Cal FC last year, the Sounders missed a PK in the 85th minute and lost the match 1-0. Opponents from the lower leagues also knocked the Los Angeles Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids out of the tournament in the third round.
The Timbers next Cup match will be on June 12th against Tampa Bay in Portland. The MLS is on break this weekend so the Timbers will next take the pitch against the Chicago Fire on the 8th. The team will be looking to extend their club best unbeaten streak to 13-games in Chicago.