Portland Timbers protest U.S. Open Cup defeat over LAFC's foreign players
The Portland Timbers are protesting their U.S. Open Cup defeat on Wednesday because of the number of foreign players in LAFC's lineup.
LAFC advanced to the semifinals with a 3-2 win over Portland, and cup organizers U.S. Soccer announced the draw to decide the hosts of the next rounds would be delayed while it investigates the complaint.
"The U.S. Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel will review the matter as soon as possible," U.S. Soccer said in a statement. A U.S. Soccer spokesman later confirmed that the meeting will take place this Saturday.
USOC rules allow professional teams to use no more than five foreign players in the 18-man matchday squad. LAFC used at least seven players who are natives of other countries.
According to the rules, foreign players are those who are not "U.S. Citizens, lawful permanent residents, asylees and refugees." It wasn't immediately clear if at least two of the players had documentation that would allow them to be listed as non-foreign players.
Here's the copy of the game day roster from the #USOC game between #LAFC and #RCTID which is produced by the USSF. Looks like Kaye is listed as a domestic in far left column. pic.twitter.com/PS9cjM8B6W— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) July 20, 2018
The confusion may stem from LAFC's inclusion of two Canadians, Mark-Anthony Kaye and Dejan Jakovic, who do not take up international roster spots in MLS play but could be counted as "foreign" under USOC rules. Jakovic has a valid U.S. green card.
With regard to Kaye, an LAFC spokesperson stated that the club's executive vice president of soccer operations John Thorrington asked the USSF via email if Kaye counted as a domestic player in the Open Cup, and that the USSF confirmed that this was the case. Furthermore, a copy of the matchday roster that is produced by the USSF was obtained by ESPN FC, and shows Kaye listed as a domestic player.
LAFC, playing in the competition this season for the first time, also used five other players who use international roster slots for its MLS roster -- Mexico's Carlos Vela, Norway's Adama Diomande, Costa Rica's Marco Urena, Belgium's Laurent Ciman and Uruguay's Diego Rossi.
The USOC rules say teams fielding ineligible players are "subject to fines or other penalties, including game forfeiture."
Wednesday's game was also the subject of controversy because Diomande said he was subjected to racial abuse during the second half.
ESPN FC U.S. correspondent Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.