Open Cup Clash Builds on New York Rivalry

Photo by Matt Kremkau

By ANTHONY J. MERCED

Open Cup II logoHARRISON, N.J. — The house may not have been full and fans couldn’t find the game on their TVs but the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup clash between the New York Red Bulls and NYCFC on Wednesday night helped the rivalry reach a new competitive high.

Both teams were desperate for a result at Red Bull Arena, but in the end the Red Bulls, once again, emerged as the victors, this time by 1-0 on a goal by Daniel Royer. The Red Bulls advanced, while NYCFC heads home for a tough game in Major League Soccer against defending champion Seattle this weekend.

“We’re red, they’re blue,” Chris Armas, the Red Bulls coach for the night, said. “The whole thing is going. It’s been tremendous for our league and for New York and New Jersey, our area, for any soccer fan. Typically, first round, you wouldn’t see energy like that. Their fans, our fans. We love that we get to host the game, play in front of our fans.”

That territorial urgency pulsed from both teams as they wasted little time pressing the action. The first half saw NYCFC do its best to break open the scoring. Tommy McNamara Ping Ponged the ball between the crossbar and the goal line while David Villa nearly whipped a shot inside the far post later in the half. Despite bossing the first half, the Red Bulls responded with strong substitutions (Royer) and were able to grab the lead midway though the second half. The cathartic roar from the home crowd exemplified just how much the game means.

“The derby, whether it’s in the league or the Cup, you always want to win it,” NYCFC Coach Patrick Vieira said. “Our fans, the way that they turn up and the noise they make tonight, you can see that it is really important to them as well. So, when you look at the starting 11 for both teams you can see that both teams wanted to win the game and wanted to go to the next round. I think this game is really important because we’re going to face each other again at least three times and it was important for us to win the game because we wanted to win the game and that can have an impact.”

The anticipation now builds for the teams’ second meeting of the season, and their first in MLS play, on Saturday, June 24. The Red Bulls will again host. NYCFC has been on the rise and trails first-place Toronto by five points in the Eastern Conference standings. The Red Bulls have lost four of their last six and play at Philadelphia on Sunday; New York is 1-6-0 on the road this season.

The clash in the Open Cup created even more anticipation for the next rivalry game as NYCFC continues to chase success against its rival across the Hudson River.