Conor Chinn likes to score goals. He also seems pretty good at it. Chinn hasn't been given much of a shot in the early goings of the MLS regular season, but the University of San Francisco product has proven that if given a shot, he can produce. He did just that tonight, scoring two goals to lead the New York Red Bulls past the Philadelphia Union in the Preliminary Round of the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Red Bulls will now host the New England Revolution on May 12th in the next phase of the Cup.
The Red Bulls trotted out a reserve lineup, but certainly had veterans out there. A lot of players who people may have forgotten were even on the team, i.e. Carlos Mendes, Andrew Boyens and Luke Sassano all started. And while they're reserves, on the 2010 version of the Red Bulls they are not without experience and moxie. Sassano, Boyens, and Mendes all were an integral part of the Red Bulls' surprising playoff run in 2008. Along with Seth Stammler, Danleigh Borman, and Greg Sutton, the Red Bulls had plenty of experience out there. Veteran defender Chris Albright made his Red Bulls debut as well. But the Red Bulls did ask a lot of their youngsters. Rookies Chinn and Juan Agudelo started at forward, and Tony Tchani, the high draft pick, started in central midfield next to Stammler. Brian Nielsen played another 60 minutes, and was very good.
Chinn got his first goal of the match just 15 minutes in. Nielsen provided a dangerous cross that wasn't cleared well by Philadelphia. The ball fell to Stammler, who took a shot that was blocked. The ball came to Chinn, who's first shot was stopped by Chris Seitz, but Chinn was able to clean up his own rebound. Then, before halftime, Sassano crossed into the box for Chinn, who managed to get the ball past Seitz. The Union added a second half goal through Sebastien Le Toux (who was carted off the field later, a really bad sign for the Union), but it wasn't enough, as the Red Bulls made the one-goal advantage hold up.
Aside from Chinn, the Red Bulls' youngsters were very impressive. Juan Agudelo looks like he can definitely be a player. He's only 17, and has time to learn and grow. Tony Tchani showed promise in the midfield. He showed a nice workrate and good vision and passing skills. Irving Garcia and Austin Da Luz came on as substitutes in the second half, and both showed flashes. Garcia looked very confident on the ball, and added some flair, prompting broadcaster Shep Messing to compare him to Lionel Messi (it doesn't take much to make Shep say something, well, out of the ordinary). It may have just been one match, but the organization has to like what they saw out of their young players.
The Red Bulls will be back in action this Saturday when they move from one rival to another, when they travel to face winless and pointless DC United. We'll have plenty of coverage throughout the week.