The news came in two parts on May 18, 2017. First, US Soccer released the match-ups for the fourth round of this year’s US Open Cup.
Next, we were given the results of the coin flips used to determine hosting.
The first Hudson River Derby of 2017 will be staged in the context of USOC at Red Bull Arena.
Barring a surprising scheduling announcement, expect the New York Red Bulls to play New York City FC on June 14 in USOC 2017. It will be RBNY’s first competitive match in about 10 days - the team plays Montreal Impact in MLS on June 3. Red Bull Arena will have a busy week, hosting an international rugby match on June 10, an international soccer friendly on June 13, and RBNY vs NYCFC on - most likely - June 14.
Every year there is hope the Red Bulls will have a successful US Open Cup campaign. The club has never won the tournament, and has only been to the final once - back in 2003.
That was when RBNY was still the MetroStars. The closest this club has come to USOC success was before the name-change: the final in 2003 (lost to Chicago Fire) and three trips to the semifinals. Since 2006, as Red Bulls, the club hasn’t got further than the quarterfinals.
On many occasions, the club has been guilty of simply not taking the competition seriously. That has tended to be the rule since name-change. Juan Pablo Angel only played one USOC match in his RBNY career; Thierry Henry played none: the Red Bulls have bowed out of the tournament most years without ever putting their best team on the field.
But under Jesse Marsch, RBNY has made a more obvious effort to succeed in USOC, at least with regard to the number of true first-teamers asked to participate in the earlier rounds. The story of RBNY in USOC under Marsch to date has been one about not being good enough to beat Philadelphia Union - the team has knocked the Red Bulls out of the Cup in both 2015 and 2016.
In recent years, it has been traditional for the Red Bulls to warm up for losing to Philly in USOC with a match against a lower-league club from New York. In 2016, that was Rochester Rhinos. In 2015, it was New York Cosmos - bested 4-1 at RBA to avenge the embarrassing 3-0 loss on Cosmos turf in the 2014 tournament.
But this year, Reading United bounced the Cosmos from USOC in the second round. It’s difficult to imagine the 2017 fourth-round wouldn’t have seen Cosmos paired with either RBNY or NYCFC, as that has been the pattern established by the tournament in recent years. But with no Cosmos around, USOC has decided to take the NYC rivalry it has: the red and blue NYs of MLS will be each other’s first opponent in the 2017 competition.
It will be the first time the teams meet in a competitive game outside the MLS regular season. The league rivalry will be renewed shortly after: the teams meet for the first time in MLS 2017 on June 24 at RBA. And then they see each other again on August 6 and August 25.
The Red Bulls’ summer of soccer will have a strong local flavor, and it starts on June 14 in USOC.