The Red Bulls were ready to get back into their season from the Copa America Centenario Break, they had some good moments taking time off from a grueling season but they knew that getting back to work was also a priority. One of those priorities they had to face was a 4th round match against the USL defending champions Rochester Rhinos, held at the Rhino's stadium.
The difference between the teams was a 20th minute penalty. Sacha Kljestan buried it down the middle on Rhinos keeper Tomas Gomez, after Gonzalo Veron was taken down by Vasilios Apostolopoulos and booked for the challenge inside the Rhinos area. It's always important to score first because we knew they would sit back and have a lot of number behind the ball." Said Kljestan, "Pretty difficult match, but we kept the shutout and that was important as well."
Jesse Marsch wanted to give different players a chance to perform out on the field in this match. Most of the players were regulars, but a few that haven't gotten a lot of minutes were given chances to start: Justin Bilyeu, Sean Davis and veteran Shaun Wright-Phillips (who was subbed out of the match in the 24th minute with a possible injury; he was replaced by Alex Muyl).
"Well I think from the inside the players wanted to take this tournament seriously and I know our organization does as well" said Marsch, "We wanted to put a good team on the field, we wanted to have good bench and players wanted to be a part of this. At the end it was important to get a good game under our belt after the two weeks off. Give credit to Rochester, they made us earn this win."
Rochester Rhinos head coach Bob Lilley has always made teams play honest against his sides that he manages. With every season in the USL and US Open Cup, he continues to put out a tough side each and every match. When you see his Rhinos take on the Red Bulls USL side last season and this season at Red Bull Arena, it has been a scoreless draw.
But while the Rhinos looked like a tough customer on the field, Luis Robles was mostly well protected by his defense and claimed a shutout on the road. "We knew it would be a tough task for us and Jesse said it would be a tough draw." said Robles, "I felt we took a big step into the right direction and it's a good warm up before we get back into the league against Seattle."
So this Thursday will be the US Open Cup 5th Round Draw. US Soccer will announce at Noon Eastern who the Red Bulls will be facing in the game on Wednesday, June 29th. Right now, this game counts as a solid restart to the season and we shall see what happens on Sunday night.