It was a match that will be talked about for years to come – the day the New York Red Bulls came from behind to beat FC Cincinnati in the most hostile environment imaginable. An instant classic that is one of the biggest game the franchise has ever played. Despite this, the first 70 minutes of the game went the way of FC Cincinnati. Their counter attack and speed caused problems for the Red Bulls’ back line, and the crowd provided them with necessary momentum.
Red Bulls End FC Cincinnati’s Run, Advance to Open Cup Final: Three Takeaways
Corben Bone finally found a breakthrough for the USL underdogs in the 31st minute, and the home team went into the break 1-0 up on the favorites. It was more of the same from Cincinnati as the second half got underway. Hometown hero Austin Berry guided a header in off a corner in the 62nd minute. At this point, the fans in Nippert Stadium were deafening, and all seemed lost for the MLS side. Inside the last 15 minutes of regulation, the Red Bulls scored two quick goals through Gonzalo Veron and Bradley Wright-Phillips, and were knocking on the door for the winner. That winner, however, would not come until the 11th minute of the first extra time period, and New York was able to hold on until the final whistle blew.
Jesse Marsch and his three substitutes have to be praised for turning the game around for RBNY. Sal Zizzo, Gonzalo Veron, and Derrick Etienne, Jr. were all key difference makers in the comeback. Etienne put in the cross that assisted Veron’s goal to get the Red Bulls on the board. Zizzo assisted the game winning goal off a beautiful cross to BWP in the 101st minute.
This New York franchise has been notoriously bad in tournaments and knockout games. For their entire history there has been a tendency to crumble in big games, away games, and games when they give up the first goal. On Tuesday night, Jesse Marsch and his squad proved to Red Bull fans that that is in the past. This is truly a revolutionary Metro era we are all witnessing, with the team just one win away from their first U.S. Open Cup in history.
Offense Flying High
The first half of the season for New York was characterized by a lackluster offense, and inability to score goals. One of the serious culprits of this trend was that the team took a very minimal amount of shots, and next to none from outside the box. Tuesday’s success featured an incredible 30 shot performance, with almost half of them coming from beyond the 18.
The ambitious behavior from attackers and defenders alike is contributing to the Red Bulls’ goal-scoring heroics. This becomes evident when, even in a match that is going poorly, RBNY can pull three goals out in 25 minutes to grab a dramatic victory.
Did You See That, Don?
MLS Commissioner Don Garber and President of the U.S. Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati were both in attendance for Tuesday’s semifinal. FC Cincinnati have been seeking acceptance as an expansion club in MLS, and they certainly made a case for themselves last night. With Garber in the building, Cincinnati brought in a crowd larger than many current MLS clubs muster (33,000+), and fought one of the best teams in MLS for 120 minutes, giving the Red Bulls more than a run for their money.
If Tuesday night did not convince Garber that FCC are a worthy candidate to be considered, than nothing will. Fans and players of every club across the nation have sympathized with the Queen’s City’s cause, especially after this years Open Cup run.
Red Bulls’ CB Aurelien Collin expressed his confidence on Twitter after the match:
I am sure we will
— Aurelien COLLIN (@ampC2) August 16, 2017
Your move, Don.
In what was one of the biggest, most important games in the club’s history, New York also made it one of the most dramatic ever. Regardless of the fact that FC Cincinnati is a USL club, they are more than a worthy opponent to any MLS team, and were a part of an instant classic.
The U.S. Open Cup Final will see the Red Bulls battle Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on September 20th.
FC Cincinnati will return to USL play on Saturday in an interesting match-up against New York Red Bulls II in New Jersey.
The New York Red Bulls are back in action Friday night in Portland as they take on the Timbers.