Fast Facts: Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

By JACK BELL

Open Cup logoThrees are wild, so to speak, ahead of Wednesday night’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match between the New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

The game will be the third of the season between the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference rivals, with each having notched a victory — the Union won, 3-0, on C.J. Sapong‘s hat trick on May 6 at RBA; the Red Bulls returned the favor at Talen Stadium when Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a late double in a 2-0 win on June 18.

The Open Cup match is also the third year in a row that the Union and the Red Bulls have clashed in the tournament, with Philadelphia coming away with wins in two straight years — first in a penalty kick shootout in 2015, then a 2-1 loss last year in Chester, Pa., on two goals by Chris Pontius.

“It’s really important. It’s a trophy this club’s never won, it’s a chance to win a trophy,’’ Red Bulls Coach Jesse Marsch said. “We think it’s a great opportunity to play this game at home, to get to the quarterfinals, to get revenge for the last two years, to continue to find a way to push forward.”

The winner of the tournament gains automatic entry to the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Red Bulls were ousted at home by the Union last year in a game that Marsch was ejected from. The suspension carried over to this year as Marsch was forced to watch the game with his assistant, Chris Armas in charge.

¶ The Red Bulls have reached the Open Cup final once, losing by 1-0 to Chicago in Giants Stadium in 2003. The Fire’s roster included midfielders named Marsch and Armas, now the Red Bulls’ coach and assistant coach. Also, Union Coach Jim Curtin was a part of that Chicago team and the Red Bulls’ Sporting Director Denis Hamlett was an assistant coach with the Fire.

¶ The Red Bulls advanced to the Round of 16 with a 1-0 win against local rival New York City FC on a goal by Daniel Royer. The Union ousted intrastate rival Harrisburg City for the second straight year, with a 3-0 victory.

¶ Philadelphia comes into the match off a win against D.C. United last weekend that ended a three-game losing streak, which followed a four-game winning streak. The Red Bulls, who only have two wins in their last eight league games, are coming off last Saturday’s 2-0 loss to visiting NYCFC.

¶ New York’s Alex Muyl and Union’s Keegan Rosenberry and Josh Yaro played together at Georgetown from 2013-15. During that time they helped Georgetown to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, reaching the Round of 16 all three times.

¶ The winner Wednesday night advances to next month’s quarterfinals to face the winner of the game between D.C. and New England. If the Red Bulls and the Revolution should advance, the teams could end up play back-to-back games, first in the league (at New England on July 5), then in the Open Cup.

¶ The match will be streamed live at NewYorkRedBulls.com

¶ Before Wednesday’s match, the Red Bulls announced that the club has signed goalkeeper Luis Robles to a new, multi-year contract. Terms were not released. Robles has played in a league record 157 consecutive, complete regular-season games. He is the club’s the leader in career shutouts (43), goals-against average (1.30), wins (73), games played (157) and minutes played (14,130). According to figures released by the MLS players’ union, Robles is earning a base salary of $290,000 this year.