Preview: Hudson River Derby in Open Cup

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

By ANTHONY J. MERCED

Open Cup II logoThe New York Red Bulls and New York City FC will have a new forum for their rivalry at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night — the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The two Major League Soccer teams have been on different paths recently. NYCFC (7-5-3, 24 points) has only lost twice in its last eight league games while the Red Bulls (6-7-2, 20) have won only once in their last six. That means little in the Open Cup, a knockout tournament where two teams with a short but heated history have never met.

Each team is expected to start strong lineups coming off the league’s international break for World Cup qualifying matches and because of the significance of any game between them.

NYCFC has yet to win a game in the Open Cup, losing two years in a row to the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. The Red Bulls have had only moderate success, advancing out of the fourth round only to be eliminated by the Philadelphia Union the last two times.

The Red Bulls have the advantage in head-to-head meetings with NYCFC having won once, at Yankee Stadium last July. At Red Bull Arena, NYCFC has allowed eight goals in three games since the club debuted in 2015.

The Red Bulls hope their recent struggles and search for identity can be offset by the team’s impressive home field record. In 2017, they’ve won five of eight league games played in Harrison, N.J. with a far better goal differential.

This match will not be available on TV, but instead will be streamed on the teams’ websites and Facebook Live. In addition, Open Cup matches are not known to be well attended and the Red Bulls will not open the stadium’s upper deck. The winner of the game will advance to the Round of 16 on Wednesday, June 28.