Red Bulls to face winner of Silverbacks, Chattanooga in U.S. Open Cup


There won’t be a derby match awaiting the New York Red Bulls at this year’s U.S. Open Cup.

Instead, the Red Bulls will face the winner of the Atlanta Silverbacks, Chattanooga FC encounter in their first foray of the competition.

It is a promising draw for New York who will enjoy home field advantage if either club advance. Atlanta and Chattanooga present two forgiving competitors. While Chattanooga are currently 2-0 in the NPSL season, they are considered an amateur side who should pose little threat to the first division powerhouse.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Silverbacks are in the midst of a transition year, with the NASL taking control of the club and imposing budget constraints on the team. Despite those issues, the team is mid-table in the Spring campaign, but have garnered all of one victory through seven matches.

The Open Cup has been a source of pain for the Red Bulls over the course of their history, but particularly in recent years. Former head coach Hans Backe kicked off a particularly pitiful run in the tournament in 2011, failing to show for a match in Chicago that resulted in a 4-0 route and exit from the Cup. Things were no better under his successor, Mike Petke, who led the team to a fourth round ouster in 2013 — and an embarrassing 3-0 loss to the New York Cosmos in 2014.

Sporting Director Ali Curtis and head coach Jesse Marsch have promised to change those fortunes, preaching a more competitive outlook on the tournament. The first inkling of that promise was given this week, with the New York Red Bulls withdrawing all MLS level talent from the New York Red Bulls II side in their Open Cup ouster against Jersey Express.

However, the real test of their promise will come when they face either the Silverbacks or Chattanooga at Red Bull Arena on June 16th.

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