What an amazing Semi-Final we saw at Nippert Stadium on Tuesday night, August 15th as the New York Red Bulls and FC Cincinnati gave a magical performance with so many twists and turns you never knew how it was going to end.
After 120 minutes of action going thru Regulation and Extra Time it was the New York Red Bulls coming out on top as they edge FC Cincinnati by a final of three goals to two, with Bradley Wright-Phillips and Gonzalo Veron punching home the goals that were needed to defeat the last lower level side in US Soccer.
FC Cincinnati got on the board first in the 31st minute as Corben Bone converted the opening goal past Ryan Meara. A long ball from Andrew Wiedeman that finds Danni Konig inside the area.
Then Konig Chests it across to a wide open Bone and he scores inside the far post to beat Ryan Meara for the early lead. Nothing else before the halftime whistle as both sides headed back to their respective locker rooms.
Then a strange play that began a sequence that led to the second FC Cincinnati goal in the 62nd minute. Tyler Adams was fouled by Justin Hoyt by the FC Cincy end line and referee Sorin Stoica decided not to blow the whistle.
That led FC Cincinnati to have a breakaway and then the ball was kicked over the end line for a corner along the near side. Kenney Walker delivers a great ball to the far side of the area where Local Cincinnati kid Austin Berry heads it in for a two goal lead.
You had to wonder at that point was this the end of this cup run for RBNY. Was this going to be another moment of “That’s So Metro” coming over to creep into the minds of the die hard supporters.
Well this time it wasn’t to be as they found a way to claw back into this with a little help from the Cincinnati defenders. Gonzalo Veron pulled one back in the 75th minute as Austin Berry Accidentally headed down a clearance towards Veron who quickly converted to pull one back.
Then three minutes later Bradley Wright-Phillips finds a way to convert the equalizer to force this match into extra time. Tyler Adams makes a fantastic cross inside the area and all BWP had to do was give a snap header to beat Mitch Hildebrandt inside the near post.
Extra Time began and you had that feeling that the home side was reeling from conceding two goals late and ending regulations tied. That’s when the magic of BWP came and put this one to bed in the 101st minute in the first half of extra time.
Sacha Kljestan along the near side found Sal Zizzo who launched a perfectly crossed ball to the head of Wright-Phillips and once again it was a perfectly placed header that found the inside of the far post and that was the goal that would send the Red Bulls to the US Open Cup Final.
Consider the run that FC Cincinnati made as they never lost till their run was ended by RBNY. scored once four times as Djiby Fall earned four match winners, had an incredible 5th round penalty kick shootout win over the Chicago Fire.
Defeated their instate MLS Rivals Columbus Crew, fly to Miami twice to reschedule a postponed match due to horrific thunder and lightning with torrential rains and goal keeper Mitch Hildebrandt earning a whopping total of 585 scoreless minutes before Veron converted to break that streak.
But at the end of the day the New York Red Bulls smashed Cinderella’s Pumpkin as FC Cincinnati who have nothing to be ashamed about, will now finish off their USL Season and look to be fighting for a playoff spot.