The New York Red Bulls enetered their 4th round US Open Cup match on a 3 match losing streak, and ended it with a 3-0 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL. The Red Bulls opened up scoring quickly, tallying 2 goals in the opening 20 minutes. The first from Lloyd Sam who put in a ball laid off from Bradley Wright-Phillips and the second from Ronald Zubar who put in a loose ball from a corner kick. The Red Bulls added one in the second half from Sean Davis, who got his first goal with the senior team and survived to hold the shutout and advance.
Taking it Seriously
Regardless of why the Red Bulls ran out a squad full of regulars (9 of 11 starters), it's a clear sign that the team is willing to take the tournament seriously this year. For years we've seen squads made up mostly of reserves going into these matches. Seeing a nearly starting squad is encouraging to fans who want to see a USOC finally in the case at Harrison.
Quality of Opponent
Let's be honest, the Silverbacks aren't some giant of soccer. They were at the bottom of the NASL spring season and needed added extra time to get past a NPSL team in the 3rd round of the Open Cup. A win was to be expected, but the Red Bulls let them stick around. The halftime lead should've been at least 3 goals, and the team should've put at least 5 in net this game. The Silverbacks also got too close to goal a lot more than they should have. While it's good the Red Bulls got the win, it could've been better.
BWP's Role Harming Form
It's been a while since Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a goal, and the wait continues. However, as we've mentioned before, you can point to the system being employed as a major reason for it. Wright-Phillips should not have to fall back and facilitate the offense, especially against a team like Atlanta. He also needs service when he is in a position to score, and he hasn't been getting it. That's something the team will need to work on to get their DP Striker back in form.