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US Open Cup Stories: Semi-Finals

The Red Bulls have been to five Semi-Finals in the US Open Cup

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire
Bradley Wright-Phillips two goals in the Semi-Finals got RBNY into the final
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls will face Sporting Kansas City in their second US Open Cup Final and first since 2003, when the club hosted the Chicago Fire at Giants Stadium back in the day as the MetroStars.

So now our new topic discussing this clubs past in the US Open Cup is a level that many have reached, but few have dreamed and that is the Semi-Finals of the US Open Cup. Since MLS Sides began to compete for this cup in 1996 not many have reached the level before the championship final.

Well in the clubs early history getting involved in the US Open Cup, they have reached the Semi-Finals three times in their first four seasons from 1997 all the way to the 2000 edition. This club has had their chances to cross that threshold of competing for some silverware, but sadly dashed.

In the early days of MLS not every club joined into the US Open Cup as the Los Angeles Galaxy in the West and the Columbus Crew in the East were not involved in this edition. The rest said yes and entered the third round of this tournament.

So the Metros started their road to the Semis with a victory over the 1995 Open Cup Champions in the Richmond Kickers as they traveled to the capital of Virginia for the Third Round.

The Metros put on a hurting as Shaun Bartlett scored a brace while Miles Joseph put the final nail into the coffin. Then it was a trip to the Quarterfinals as the club traveled out to Long Island and faced the Rough Riders who were in the A-League at the time was Division two.

This match nearly went the distance as the MetroStars and the Rough Riders had nothing through regulation, but in extra time they cleaned up as Mr. Clean Rhett Harty converted in the 106th minute of extra time and this time the Metros were going to host the Semi-Finals for the very first time.

For the very first time in the Borough of Manhattan at the athletic fields of Columbia University, as many fans took the #1 Train to see this big time match against the Dallas Burn (Now FC Dallas) at Baker Field.

Damian converted early in the 17th minute and Dallas had a lead till the final five minutes of regulation as the Brazilian Branco scored the equalizer to force extra time. But sadly in extra time it was Jorge Flores who converted in the 103rd minute to eventually win the US Open Cup over DC United.

The Metros made a return to the Semi-Finals the next season as they edged the Hampton Roads Mariners one goal to nil, destroyed the Tampa Bay Mutiny four goals to nil, but once again that Semi-Finals loss in a neutral stadium was the killer against the Columbus Crew.

Their third trip to the Semi-Finals was in the 2000 season as the Metros had a stacked side with Clint Mathis, Adolpho Valencia, Alex Comas, Lothar Matthaus and Tim Howard in goal to make the big saves.

A big road victory at the Wilmington Hammerheads as the MetroStars held on to advance from the second round, the Tampa Bay Mutiny traveled to Long Island to face the Metro and got knocked down in a clean sheet three goal victory.

The penalty shootout winner in Columbus and then the Semi-Finals against the defunct Miami Fusion that was back at Mitchell Athletic Complex, Andy Williams scored early in the first half as Billy Walsh equalized late.

But sadly the second half was all Miami as Welton converted in the 61st minute and then the Metro killer Diego Serna two minutes later. Maybe there was some hope when Adolpho Valencia pulled one back to give some hope in the 84th minute, but no chance as the Metros fell for the third time in the Semi-Finals.

The only win in the semis at that time was the famed 2003 run to the final as the Metros defeated long time rivals DC United at Yurcak Field and now in 2017 a big comeback victory down two goals to FC Cincinnati all of a sudden had Gonzalo Veron and a brace by Bradley Wright-Phillips as he tied it inside regulation and won it in extra time.

In five Semi-Final appearances the club has two wins and three losses but could this 2017 season be the year that the Red Bulls lift the US Open Cup for the first time in two tries? We shall have to wait and see.