The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Friday night that the Portland Timbers have withdrawn their protest of their Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup loss to the Los Angeles Football Club.
The Timbers had filed the protest shortly after Wednesday’s 3-2 defeat, claiming that LAFC had used too many foreign players. Open Cup rules limit professional teams to a maximum of five foreign players on its 18-man matchday team.
The expansion team used at least seven players who are natives of other countries.
Open Cup regulations say that foreign players are those who are not “U.S. Citizens, lawful permanent residents, asylees and refugees.” It wasn’t clear if at least two of the players had documentation that would allow them to be listed as non-foreign players.
Portland’s allegation claimed LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye was a foreign player under Open Cup regulations. Under MLS rules, Kaye does not take up an international roster spot in Major League Soccer but could be counted as a foreigner under USOC rules. He is a Canadian citizen and doesn’t hold a green card.
However, things changed Friday night.
“After a thorough review of the Portland Timbers’ official protest, it has been determined that the inclusion of additional foreign players was a result of a good faith misunderstanding among the U.S. Soccer, Major League Soccer and Los Angeles Football Club,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement. “Each organization involved has agreed to determine an improved process to ensure this will not happen again. In recognition of this fact, the Timbers have gracefully withdrawn their protest.”
After U.S. Soccer released its statement, LAFC commented on the issue.
“We are pleased the situation has been resolved,” LAFC vice president of soccer operations and general manager John Thorrington said in a statement. “From the start, we proactively did our due diligence with U.S. Soccer to ensure our roster was compliant with U.S. Open Cup guidelines. We have stayed within those guidelines throughout the tournament and will continue to do so moving forward. We are excited to turn our attention to taking on the Houston Dynamo in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinals.”