When the Red Bulls enter the U.S. Open Cup in the third round May 29, they'll face off against either the Harrisburg City Islanders or the PDL's Reading United at Red Bull Arena.
If those teams sound familiar, it's because Reading United lost to the USL Charleston Battery for the right to play the Red Bulls in last year's third round. After knocking out the Battery, the Red Bulls played the Harrisburg City Islanders, who beat the New England Revolution in a crazy, crazy game for passage into the tournament's quarterfinals.
That fourth round match-up, the Red Bulls against the City Islanders, was one we'd all rather forget. Harrisburg's first goal was possibly offside. The Red Bulls pulled one back thanks to Connor Lade. In extra time, there was an obvious hand ball in the box that went uncalled. At the end of 120 minutes, the Red Bulls' Open Cup run was over with a 2-1 loss.
Thankfully, the match will be at home, giving the Red Bulls something of an advantage. As in, in addition to the usual, the field will be well maintained and there won't be obnoxious Jock Jams-style music blaring during stoppages in play.
Then again, this is the Open Cup, and sometimes crazy things happen (see above Revs-City Islanders game). Even when the team takes the tournament serious, as they did last year.
We'll see if the team can reverse its Open Cup fortunes in two weeks time.