Yes, we are happy to say that the New York Red Bulls have progressed to the next round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. In the round of 16, RBNY has been drawn with the Philadelphia Union. Coincidentally, this team knocked the Red Bulls out last season, cutting short a USOC run that had fans and club optimistic about an appearance in the final.
This year, New York has the opportunity to take revenge. Last year's exit was particularly frustrating because RBNY was the home team, and the more active in front of goal. This rematch gives the Union the comforts of home, and the Red Bulls the chance to play spoiler.
Easier said than done, of course. Currently, the Red Bulls are in the middle of a hectic schedule having taken on (and beaten) the Seattle Sounders on Sunday in Harrison, losing at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, then flying to Columbus to play on Saturday, next heading down I-95 to take on the Union in a mid-week fixture.
This schedule truly is tough on the team, not just because the games are coming thick and fast, but also because four out five of them (including this latest USOC match) are on the road. Constant travel takes its toll, but we can only hope the players have kept their spirits up after two successive disappointing results in MLS and are ready to pursue a berth in the USOC quarterfinals (where they will be on the road again, playing the winner of the NY Cosmos-New England Revolution game).
Anyway. This match should be awesome. It will be the first meeting with the Philadelphia Union in all competitions this season, and the first time NY plays in the rebranded "Talen Energy Stadium." I guess it'll be a little harder to deride the team for being an energy drink advertisement with a stadium name like that.
As a personal opinion, I call on all those capable of attending to do so (yes, I know many of you have families, work, other priorities, financial and transportational concerns). I understand there is more to life than attending footy matches regularly. However, this game is a big one simply for the fact that it is the US Open Cup; a trophy, safe to say, that many Red Bulls fans crave to see in the cabinet at Red Bull Arena.
USOC games are unique in their own right because they are a different competition than regular season or playoff matches. Likened to the FA Cup of England, it brings in all the teams in the US to compete for the oldest trophy in the country. The atmosphere is noticeably different than would be found in MLS match ups. Although we cannot have flares like the ones we saw in Rochester, the hype will still be carried over as ideas of an Open Cup victory will shine brightly.
The game will take place at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29th. A weekday game will be highly exclusionary to many of the Red Bulls faithful. Nonetheless for those that are capable of making it, and I truly do encourage you to make it, can find details to purchase tickets here. Moreover, as far as carpooling down is concerned, you may enquire about rides here.