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US Open Cup Stories: Qualifiers

Why I hated the time when MLS Sides Qualified for US Open Cup Play

Seattle Sounders FC v Sporting Kansas City
Why I hated the MLS US Open Cup Qualifiers
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Welcome back to another day discussing the past of the Metro/RBNY US Open Cup moments for this club, but now I have to be a bit negative as for a time the US Soccer Federation reduced the number of spots in the round where MLS Sides entered the competition.

For a certain amount of time this club as the MetroStars or RBNY had to qualify for their US Open Cup spot which in my book was a disappointment. How does US Soccer justify allowing MLS clubs to qualify for their single elimination knockout tournament?

I hated it that the club had to go thru all these games that got them to qualify for a round proper and I have to admit that I never counted these games, because I felt they were a waste of time and energy.

Even if RBNY did need them to get into the tournament proper, I still felt disgusted that they were wasting their time on it. Either all the clubs go in at the same time, or just don’t invite the clubs at all.

But it had to happen as the clubs who didn’t get into the MLS Cup Playoffs would go thru qualifying and the Red Bulls first US Open Cup Qualifier was at the Los Angeles Galaxy when the Red Bulls traveled all the way to Carson, California on May 8th, 2007 as this match was scoreless thru regulation.

But the fireworks began in extra time where the Red Bulls conceded a penalty & Landon Donovan converted in the 93rd minute, then a second was converted in the 103rd minute by Kyle Martino. First fifteen minutes in the books and waiting to see what would happen in the second half of extra time.

Juan Pablo Angel who was brought over from Aston Villa by Bruce Arena showed what he was all about in MLS when he took a free kick rip from distance and beat the keeper to pull one back in the 109th minute, but sadly it all ended in the final minute of extra time as Santino Quaranta converted the final goal of the night.

In 2009 the Red Bulls traveled back to the West coast to face the San Jose Earthquakes as Mike Petke got the club on the board first in the 2nd minute, but Pablo Campos leveled it in the 71st minute. But you know who loves to come up big when you don’t expect it.

That’s right it would be “Woly Magic” John Wolyniec nine minutes later who would score the go ahead and the winning goal to advance to the next round against their rivals in DC United.

Sadly though the boys got run over by a red hot DC side that showed no mercy. Even though Dane Richards and Jorge Rojas brace converted the chances, it would be a brace by Chris Pontius, Thabiso Khumalo, Fred & Brandon Barklage that ended it.

Now comes 2010 and the very first year that Red Bull Arena opened for business, we all knew that a home to call their own was finally the light to get into and thru these three straight qualifiers before getting into the tournament proper.

After playing a league match against then expansion side Philadelphia Union, the next match was a few days later as the boys took them on. Conor Chinn got his brace inside the first forty-five minutes, then Sebastien LeToux pulled one back in the 68th minute.

But nothing else came as the Red Bulls advanced to the next Qualifier against Eastern Conference foes in the New England Revolution. Once again the Baby Bulls showed their metal as they took down the Revolution with a three goal clean sheet.

A brace from Wolyniec again along with a goal from Sinisa Ubiparipovic took the win with ease and then their final qualifier against the Colorado Rapids to get into the tournament proper.

Another three goal clean sheet victory as Wolyniec scored another brace and this time Conor Chinn gets back into the party with his third of the US Open Cup Qualifiers, to travel on the road and face the Harrisburg City Islanders in the capital of the state of Pennsylvania.

But thankfully the last of these MLS US Open Cup Qualifiers were in the 2011 season as US Soccer decided to allow all MLS clubs into the fourth round proper in the 2012 edition. I’m glad MLS sides go in automatically the proper way.