The Red Bulls are moving on to the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarter-finals after a hard-fought victory against the Philadelphia Union.
A big goal from Sacha Kljestan in the first half, five converted penalty kicks, and a number of impressive saves on the part of backup GK Ryan Meara ensured that the Union would not get their third straight win against the Red Bulls in Open Cup action.
The team now gets a bit of a reprieve - a full week's rest before their next game - during which they can mend the multiple wounds they suffered in the match and prepare for back-to-back matches against the New England Revolution in MLS and Open Cup action.
Here are the RBNY player ratings vs Philadelphia:
Ryan Meara - 9 (Man of the Match)
Huge saves, a blocked penalty kick and generally smart decision-making made for perhaps the best game of his professional career. The only reason the game stops short of a 10 is the fact that he needed help from the posts on several occasions and got beat for the Union equalizer.
Kemar Lawrence - 7
Damien Perrinelle - 4
Beaten constantly. If not for Long, the team would have been in way more trouble.
Aurelien Collin - 6
Aaron Long - 8
Are two hands enough to count the number of times Long saved Perrinelle's bacon in this game? The closing speed he displayed was tremendous.
Sal Zizzo - 5
Tyler Adams - 8
Felipe - 8
Sean Davis - 5
Sacha Kljestan - 4
It's nice that he finally opened up his 2017 account and its even nicer to see that he can convert a penalty kick, but Kljestan was making one bad decision or bad pass after another. A game like this would have been useful to see how the team could adjust without him, which it might be forced to if his poor play continues.
Bradley Wright-Phillips - 4
Despite multiple breakaways BWP would either get run down easily by the Union defenders or simply refuse to take a shot. By the end of the first 90 minutes he was spent.
His score would have been lower if not for his perfect ball placement on the goal from Kljestan.
Connor Lade - 7
Daniel Royer - 5
Gonzalo Veron - 4
Coaching: Jesse Marsch - 7
On paper the formation seemed strange. Five defenders, three defensive midfielders, one attacking midfielder and a forward seems more like a Prevent Defense than a winning strategy. However, the formation was justified early when Aurelien Collin went down - and then unjustified once more when he brought in Connor Lade as opposed to an attacker. Maybe the formation would work better when all of his players are available, but for now it should probably get left on the backburner.
Due to the international break (and the insistence of both MLS and the Open Cup to continue playing games during that period) the Red Bulls will be without starting defenders Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica) and Michael Murillo (Panama) - which only further thins out what little depth the team has on defense. And with two straight road games against the New England the loss may be too tough to overcome.
As for the Revs, even without the availability of Kelyn Rowe and Juan Agudelo for the next few games, they are still a force to be reckoned with on their home turf - where the Red Bulls have won only once in the past 15 years.