Tomas Gomez Faces Portland Timbers Tuesday

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UPDATED – The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup has reached the fourth round and it offers a tasty morsel for fans of St Louis Soccer. Tuesday night the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer will host the Orlando City U23 PDL squad. Orlando City advanced by beating the Charleston Battery of USL Pro.

Watch Live at 9:30 pm HERE

Featuring in goal for the Orlando City U23′s will be Webster Groves alum Tomas Gomez who is spending his second summer playing for the Purple Lions. SLU Billiken alum Jack Jewsbury will be part of a Timber’s squad looking to restart their season with a strong Cup showing.

skyler-russell-orlando-pdl-2014Orlando City advanced in the US Open Cup by beating the Battery in penalty kicks that went 14 rounds. Another Missouri player, Skyler Russell (Kickapoo 2010/Rollin 2014 – pictured right in white) scored on his PK opportunity, something he has experience with. He also played a role in the first goal scored in regulation with his free kick into the box.

It was Tomas Gomez (Georgetown) who was the hero, with a pair of point-blank saves in regulation (pic above) and a save in the eighth round of PKs that kept Orlando from being eliminated.

I talked to Brian Jones of St Louis Goalkeeping Academy, who is Tomas’ trainer when he returns to St Louis since graduating from Webster Groves. Jones mentioned that Tomas is part of a regular training group that includes John Berner (Colorado Rapids/SIUE/St Mary’s) along with Mark Pais (Tulsa/SLU) and Kent Kobernus (SIUE/Belleville West). Our discussion about Tomas included his strong reputation as a shot stopper. Jones also considers Gomez a highly technical keeper that should finish ranked highly enough to follow Berner into the MLS Draft in January, following his senior year at Georgetown this Fall. Check out this in-depth story on Tomas from 2012 following his call up to the U20 MNT Camp.

If you haven’t discovered the STL Goalkeeping Academy YouTube channel, I would highly recommend it. Started about eight years ago when Jones was working with Pais, it became the best method for introducing Mark to college coaches (and international coaches) as he explored his options. It now has over 9,500 subscribers worldwide and videos regularly attract 1000′s of views. I’m looking forward to talking to Brian, who is also the SIUE Cougars GK Coach, further later this Summer about the doors it’s opened not only for his players but also for him as he now does International training.

Gomez and Russell will face Jack Jewsbury, a 1999 alumni of Kickapoo who went on to play at St Louis University before beginning his professional career with the KC Wizards. Jack, like Skyler, is a Kickapoo Chief alum, putting two of them on the pitch tonight!

The Portland Timbers begin their run in the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, June 17 (9:30pm CT). Like their MLS-based counterparts, the Timbers enter the knockout competition in the Fourth Round and begin their quest to become U.S. Soccer’s club champion. No details yet on whether there will be a live stream but following me on Twitter at @SoccerSTL as I expect we’ll hear something positive on this front.

Portland advanced to the semifinal of the 2013 U.S. Open Cup, making its deepest run in the tournament in club history last year. Here is what you need to know about the U.S. Open Cup and what lays ahead for the Timbers in their cup run in 2014.

What is the U.S. Open Cup?
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer National Club Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. Founded in 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination competition, which utilizes a tiered-bracket format. The 2014 U.S. Open Cup marks the 101st edition of the tournament.

In total, 80 clubs will participate in the 2014 U.S. Open Cup, the largest field in the competition’s modern history (1995-present).

The winner of the U.S. Open Cup earns a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, receives $250,000 and will have its named engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, one of the oldest nationally contested trophies in American team sports.

What’s 0n tap for the Timbers?
The Timbers play host to the Orlando City U23s of the Premier Development League (PDL) in a fourth-round matchup on June 17, at Providence Park at 7:30pm PT. The Orlando City U23s are an amateur team affiliated with Orlando City SC, a 2015 MLS expansion franchise that currently play in USL PRO.

What’s at Stake?
The winner between the Timbers and Orlando City U23s will advance to the Fifth Round of the U.S. Open Cup and move one step closer to becoming U.S. Open Cup champion. Should the Timbers advance to the Fifth Round, the club will earn a date with either Sporting Kansas City or Minnesota United FC (North American Soccer League). All possible fifth-round pairings for the Timbers, regardless of opponent, see the club on the road in the next round.

Four things to know about the Orlando City U23s
Like the Timbers have the Portland Timbers U-23s as a development platform, the Orlando City U23s serve in the same capacity for its parent club. The Premier Development League is the premier Under-23 league in North America, and the Orlando City U23s consist primarily of college players and professional prospects from the region.

Orlando City U23s have won each of their first two matches in the 2014 U.S. Open Cup, first defeating amateur team Jacksonville United FC of the National Premier Soccer League in the Second Round. In the Third Round, Orlando City U23s took down professional side the Charleston Battery (USL PRO) on May 28, eventually prevailing in a 14-round, penalty-kick shootout after regulation and added extra time.

Orlando City U23s are one of just three amateur teams to reach the Fourth Round of the 2014 U.S. Open Cup, along with fellow-PDL team the Laredo Heat and USASA’s PSA Elite.

Led by head coach Paul Shaw, Orlando City U23s will have only played in six regular-season games before making their way to the Rose City for Tuesday’s cup tilt. The team currently sits in second place in the PDL’s Southeast Division and is led by top-scorer Romario Williams, a Jamaican youth international.

MYSA Fundraiser Featuring Mia Hamm

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