The memories are flooding in, remembering those fantastic games, locations, players and big moments by this club as they try to earn their first US Open Cup title and it could happen on Wednesday, September 20th as the Red Bulls travel to face Sporting Kansas CIty.
As this article is being published on Monday, September 11th it is a day of mourning for those who perished in the twin towers of the original World Trade Center, the section of the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania as we remember those who tragically lost their lives by terrorists.
So while we as New Yorkers have always come together in tragic times as well as those times we are at each others throats, why not remember some of the US Open Cup matches when New York took on New York.
While some might think to themselves the two games when the boys faced the Rochester Rhinos might count, to be honest they won’t as I will take a closer look at the clubs that have faced this MLS side from the five boroughs.
We all know about the recent match with NYCFC and the two before them with the New York Cosmos, we also can’t forget the recent article about John Rooney’s winner over FC New York, but we will start it off with a club sadly that was one and done and the first one to face the Metros in 1999.
It was designated as a home game for the MetroStars as they played down the New Jersey Turnpike to host the Staten Island Vipers of the A-League. As always these top division sides have to be aware of a giant killing happening and it started off like that as Ernest Inneh converted his chance in the 32nd minute.
The Vipers held that lead all the way to the start and the end of halftime as it felt like the Metros were going to fall in an early round, but a local player wasn’t going to allow that to happen.
Billy Walsh who was a college player at the University of Virginia and transferred to Rutgers in his senior year was drafted by the club in 1998, a local kid from Chatham Township, NJ was the lone player who converted twice to give the club a lead.
His first tally came in the 69th minute to level the score, then gave them the lead in the 81st minute. It sounded like this was going to be an advancement, but Lee Tschantret converted the Vipers equalizer four minutes later.
So this match went into extra time and it ended very quickly as Kevin Wilson scored the winner five minutes into golden goal extra time. An early elimination for the first time in three seasons for the Metros in the US Open Cup, but it won’t be the last.
Their next encounter for facing a lower level club was of course the one hit wonders in FC New York at Red Bull Arena back in 2011. After conceding the opening goal, Corey Hertzog & John Rooney quickly got their goals to give them a win in the third round and advancement to the Quarterfinals.
Three years later the return of the New York Cosmos made their first ever US Open Cup appearance as the original NASL never played back in the 70’s & 80’s, after a two goal win in the third round by the Cosmos over the Brooklyn Italians, they would host the Red Bulls at Shuart Stadium in the fourth round.
Well it was a brace by Mads Stokkelien that began and ended the night for the Red Bulls as he converted in the 8th minute and then ended it in the 73rd. Alessandro Noselli scored the third after Chris Duvall was shown a straight red card after a poor challenge.
But in the next season of the Open Cup the Red Bulls defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks in the fourth round and the first ever 5th Round Draw pitted these two sides again as this time the Cosmos would be playing at Red Bull Arena.
A hungry Red Bulls side got their revenge as Sal Zizzo scored early in the 5th, Anatole Abang scored late in the 42nd & then it was celebration as Sacha Kljestan converted a penalty as a hand ball was called inside the Cosmos area and then the finish by Mike Grella in the 90th minute.
Even though Lucky Mkosana who terrorized this side back in 2012 as a member of the Harrisburg City Islanders leveled the score in the 16th minute, there was no denying the Red Bulls a chance to get back into the Quarterfinals.
Then in the middle of June of this season, the Red Bulls and NYCFC faced each other for the first time in the US Open Cup as both sides wanted to advance to the next round. Well NYCFC found woodwork twice and Daniel Royer found the back of the net late in the second half to push the club to the fifth round of the 2017 edition of this Open Cup run.
So there have been some very interesting games between the Red Bulls and the clubs that have played from within the five boroughs and even though the Cosmos did call Long Island home at Hofstra University, they did play at Belson Stadium at St. John’s a couple of times and currently in a minor league baseball stadium out in Brooklyn at MCU Park of the Mets Short Season A club the Cyclones.
The Red Bulls have a three win, two loss record against their opponents from the five boroughs and as we wait for the ending of this season’s tournament to come on September 20th, we await with baited breath if these three sides will meet each other in 2018.