Red Bulls Squander Another Lead, Eliminated from Open Cup

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by Russ McKenzie

As a wise man once said, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

Once more, the New York Red Bulls crash out of the US Open Cup at the hands of the Philadelphia Union. Again, they squander a dominant first half performance by conceding two second half goals.

And again, Chris Pontius played the Red Bull killer, scoring that brace to give Philadelphia the 2-1 victory.

After Mike Grella poked home a rebound created by a Sacha Kljestan free kick in the 17th minute, the Red Bulls looked to have a strangle hold on the match. They were sharp in their passing. Their defense was solid. Even goalkeeper Ryan Meara contributed in the opening frame.

The Union, however, turned their fortunes in short order. Chris Pontius scored a second half brace in the span of five minutes — both goals assisted by Ilsinho. The 55th and 60th minute goals put Philadelphia ahead and through to the US Open Cup Quarterfinals. Despite playing a first choice starting XI, the Red Bulls failed to hold a lead for the third match in a row. Philadelphia, meanwhile, came out with more sharpness in the second half, leaving little chance for the Red Bulls moving forward.

With the Union firmly in control of the match, assistant coach Mike Sorber was ejected.  Minutes later, Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch was ejected as well. On his way out, Marsch spiked a ball towards Union boss Jim Curtin and flung another against the wall.

New York goes into Yankee Stadium to face a well rested and red hot NYCFC on Sunday. City will be looking to avenge their last outing against the Red Bulls – a 7-0 defeat. New York, road weary and frustrated, will need to shake this off to attempt to turn their current run of form around.