Open Cup: Red Bulls 1, NYCFC 0

Photo by Matt Kremkau

By EoS STAFF

Open Cup logoHARRISON, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls extended their mastery over their Major League Soccer rivals New York City FC and advanced to the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 victory at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night.

While the Red Bulls move on to face New England in the next round , it was the third straight year that NYCFC was eliminated in the fourth round.

NYCFC had the first chance of the game, in the 16th minute. David Villa hauled the ball into the Red Bulls’ end before sliding a pass to an unmarked Tommy McNamara. McNamara’s left-footed blast from about 10 yards kissed the crossbar, bounced straight down and straight up again, caroming off the crossbar and out. Or so it appeared live and on replay.

In the 37th, NYCFC came close, though not quite as close, when Maxi Moralez chipped a pass to Villa at the near post. He settled and took a shot that skittered wide of the near post. Three minutes later it was Villa again, collecting an errant clearance and hitting a grass-cutting right-footed shot that that appeared to be touched lightly by Alex Ring before it rebounded off the far post and into the arms of the sprawling goalkeeper Ryan Meara.

The Red Bulls showed a bit of life before the end of the first half. Felipe‘s cross from the left found Bradley Wright-Phillips for a side volley that demanded a diving save by NYCFC’s Sean Johnson in goal.

It was a different Red Bull team that began the second half, helped when Daniel Royer replaced Mike Grella and had an immediate impact. Royer took a pass from Wright-Phillips but powered his shot at Johnson. Three minutes later, NYCFC’s Alexander Callens drew a yellow card for a foul at the top of the area on Wright-Phillips. But the free kick by Sacha Kljestan sailed high over the goal.

Wright-Phillips had a chance in the 60th minute but lofted an open shot from 20 yards high over the crossbar. It was Royer, however, who broke the deadlock in the 67th minute. A shot by Wright-Phillips deflected high off the on-rushing Johnson. Royer tracked it down and cooly volleyed a left-footed shot inside the near post.

Both teams began the game with first-choice lineups, though the Red Bulls rested their iron-man goalkeeper Luis Robles (who has appeared in 155 consecutive games in MLS) and gave a rare start to Meara. Also missing was left back Kemar Lawrence, just off international duty with Jamaica. The biggest difference for New York: Chris Armas, normally the assistant coach, took over for Jesse Marsch, who was suspended by US Soccer after an incident in last year’s fifth-round tournament game against Philadelphia. NYCFC was without Maxime Chanot who was out injured.

The teams have plyed six times in the league, with the Red Bulls winning five, including three in RBA by a lopsided 16-5 in goals scored. Now that streak has been extended to four games, in all competitions.

The match was the teams’ first meeting outside league play. NYCFC had been ousted from the Open Cup the last two years by New York Cosmos of the North American League Soccer; the Red Bulls suffered same fate against the Union. In 2003, the MetroStars lost to Armas and the Chicago Fire, 1-0, in the Open Cup final at Giants Stadium.