It hasn’t been the most exciting first pro season for Russell Cicerone fans, as the former UB star has cut his teeth with Portland Timbers 2, the USL affiliate to the MLS franchise of the same name.
Timbers 2 are one of the worst teams in the USL and Russ has generally been used as a second-half sub so far.
Enter the US Open Cup, a yearly tournament on par with the FA Cup in England. With a tiered system that lets amateur and lower-tier sides duke it out for a few weeks before the MLS teams join, it’s a quietly great tournament.
This week is Round Four, when the MLS teams all enter the tournament, and Russ is fortunate to play for a team that both doesn’t always put forward their first stringers in Cup competition and is further depleted by the current international break. The end result is Cicerone with the Timbers for tonight’s match against Seattle.
This is Russ’ first appearance in the Open Cup — while the Michigan Bucks were in the tournament last year, Cicerone had not yet wrapped up his spring semester and joined them after their elimination -- and while it’s likely that he doesn’t see the field, it’s still nice to see him join Bobby Shuttleworth among MLS rosters if even for a minute.
Portland-Seattle, one of three all-MLS matches in the Fourth Round, kicks off at 10:30 Eastern tonight. A live stream will be available at soundersfc.com