Now we are getting a bit closer to that magical night, now we are getting towards an area where as a supporter you can’t control yourself. Yes there is a league match that has to come first, but now we are at a point where you will take a peak.
And when you take that peak across the horizon, just know that something shinny is waiting for you to see if the Red Bulls can take advantage of the situation and be that side celebrating on the field with their first championship.
Now we talk about this current run, now we talk about what the 2017 New York Red Bulls had to go thru to reach this final. In a certain way it’s a two part process as the beginning was probably the craziest moments you have ever seen.
This craziness started on Wednesday, June 14th as the Red Bulls and NYCFC moved their Hudson River Rivalry to the US Open Cup as one and done would bring huge bragging rights.
While NYCFC had control for most of the first half, there were two chances for them to break thru and even though Ryan Meara was beaten twice, the post saved him both times.
Daniel Royer was a second half sub and when he came into the match for an injured Mike Grella to start the second forty-five his tally was the difference maker. Alex Muyl finds a way to block and deflect a clearance towards Bradley Wright-Phillips who was onside.
As BWP turned towards goal an aggressive Sean Johnson came off his line to deflect the shot, but the ball landed towards Royer and his volley went inside the net for the only goal of the match,
Then a league match on the road at Talon Energy Stadium on June 18th where BWP gets two late goals in the second half for the victory and then a league match back at home against NYCFC on June 24th who found a way to earn their first victory at Red Bull Arena.
Then on Wednesday, June 28th it was the Union’s turn to face the Red Bulls in the 5th Round. A great pass from BWP to Sacha Kljestan who catches John McCarthy off his line and converts his third Red Bulls Open Cup Goal.
But the Dutchman Roland Alberg was able to pull a late equalizer in the 86th minute as Jack Elliott sent a looping ball towards the Red Bulls Goal and Roland beats Ryan Meara. This match would advance to extra time, but nothing went in the net with the extra thirty.
So it’s on to penalties as Sal Zizzo converts first, then Alberg in the first round. Gonzalo Veron stepped up and scored as well as Chris Pontius, but the third round was huge for New York as Daniel Royer converted his spot kick while Ryan Meara stops Fafa Picault.
Then you knew this one would be over, just finishing up the string as Kljestan converts in the fourth round and so did Marcus Epps to make it 4-3 in favor of the Red Bulls, so it was Felipe who stepped up big and converted to end the cup tie.
Then we enter the month of July to see the Red Bulls taking two trips to the New England area as they would play on July 5th at Gillette Stadium for a comeback victory with Gonzalo Veron winning it at the death.
Then a big Quarterfinal match up on Thursday, July 13th against this same Revolution side. They looked to be the aggressors all match long and when the Revolution tried to get an advantage, it became a disadvantage in the 75th minute.
Benjamin Angoua was shown a straight red card for his backhanded slap to Royer and then extra time was adverted when BWP finally converted his first career US Open Cup Goal with three minutes of regulation time were remaining.
It was on to the Semi-Finals for the first time since the 2003 US Open Cup season and a date with the USL’s FC Cincinnati over at Nippert Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.
When have you ever seen during a league schedule and sandwiching in matches from the US Open Cup includes playing three teams within two competitions at the same time could ever happen?
From June 14th thru July 13th a grand total of four weeks in the Red Bulls Schedule as well as that fifth round draw which pitted these three sides to take on the Red Bulls who ended up with a 4-1-1 record and the draw led to the penalty round shootout against the Union.
Sometimes it takes a wacky scheduling quirk to make a big run to the next level before you make it to the Semi-Finals of the US Open Cup, which of course we will discuss on the next US Open Cup Story in this series.