The New York Red Bulls advanced to the quarterfinal stage of the US Open Cup for the first time since 2006 with a 2-1 win over FC New York at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday night. The Red Bulls fell behind early in the first half, but bounced back with goals from Corey Hertzog and John Rooney to prevent a second successive Round of 16 exit against a third-division opponent.
In the first half, Red Bulls midfielder Marcos Paullo started well with a couple of shots from distance that were just off the mark. Juan Agudelo carried the ball well and made some good moves in the box, but got frustrated easily by pesky defenders as well as his own teammates who often seemed to be on a different page than him. FC New York played physically and mostly allowed the Red Bulls to possess the ball while denying them any real goal scoring opportunities through the first half but also did not create any of their own.
After entering at halftime for FC New York, Owen Morrison struck a rocket from well outside the box into the goal's upper corner past former Red Bulls starting goalkeeper Greg Sutton. After a bit of taunting from the five FC New York fans in attendance toward the South Ward ("We can't hear you!!"), Corey Hertzog responded minutes later putting in a shot from a crazy angle near the end line showing a flash of his previous Nittany Lion goal scoring abilities. While his goal came after fifty-eight minutes of not touching the ball without being in an offsides position or knocking it out of bounds, Hertzog finished the match well and even showed a knack for holding up possession in the corner during the final minutes of play - something Hans Backe hopefully took note of for when the Red Bulls are protecting one-goal leads in the future.
Austin Da Luz and John Rooney had two of the most consistent performances of the match, and it was Rooney who managed to score the game winner on a soft roller from outside the box. Granted, FC New York plays in a lower division than the Red Bulls but no one looked out of place or untrustworthy for cameos with the first team as Hans Backe's substitution trends would suggest.
Neither Agudelo nor captain-armband toting Tim Ream put in flawless performances but both assisted on a goal and were able to stretch FC New York through Ream's distribution and Agudelo's taking advantage of open space while on the ball. Sacir Hot showed some promise when he entered at halftime for Stephen Keel, and Tyler Lassiter showed off those "Reamesque" qualities despite a limited appearance at left back: composure on the ball and an ability to distribute up field from the back line.
Next, the Red Bulls will travel to San Jose for the last of a four game road trip this weekend and find themselves in the middle of a four week period with ten games as their next Open Cup match is scheduled for July 12, away to the Chicago Fire.