The US Open Cup is back and the New York Red Bulls yet again face New York City FC. A once fierce and fresh rivalry is quickly becoming stale and stagnant as the two teams seem to meet too often. The dominance the Red Bulls have over City does not help this derby grow. With Vieira left looking dumbfounded in their last meeting, it seems like not much will change in the distant future.
The Red Bulls are coming off a tough loss to the New England Revolution just four days prior to this US Open Cup match. Jesse Marsch was limited in his team selection due to national team call ups, but the team played its worst football the entire year. Hopeless long balls and chippy fouls littered this match, with Teal Bunbury eventually scoring a late second half winner past Ryan Meara in net.
Unfortunately for the Red Bulls, the match against NYCFC will not get any easier. Already without Tim Parker, Tyler Adams, Michael Murillo, and Fidel Escobar, the club now has to deal without their best playmaker of the season. Kaku traveled to be with the Paraguay national team on Monday, June 4th after making a one time national switch from Argentina.
This leaves a gaping hole in the midfield that was already drawn thin due to Adam’s absence. To be fair, Long Branch native Sean Davis played his heart out against the Revolution as he occupied the lone holding midfielder role. Against NYCFC, though, Marsch will need to do some serious readjusting.
Marc Rzatkowski made his return to the lineup after being out due to injury, giving Marsch a solid attacking midfielder option. His inclusion against City will mean Vincent Bezecourt and Florian Valot could be pushed deeper into the midfield to compensate for the lack of central midfielders. Rzatkowski will have big shoes to fill as he takes over for Kaku as he tries to run the offense for the team.
Daniel Royer will also be a main feature in this Open Cup match as he came off the bench in the 63rd minute against the Revolution. The Austrian has scored three goals in his last six appearances, but those are his only contributions of the season. His movement and linkup play with Rzatkowski will be the bulk of the attacking play against City as Bradley Wright-Phillips will likely be limited in minutes.
City also had a match on June 2nd with a much better result than the Red Bulls. Their 3-0 victory over Orlando City saw Libyan forward Ismael Tajouri-Shradi grab a brace in the convincing win for Vieira’s men. Much like Royer, David Villa was also rested for this match, coming on in the 65th minute. He will start for City as they look to advance in the Open Cup.
The one major factor heading into this match for the Red Bulls is whether or not Luis Robles will return to the field. Iron Man has missed the last three matches after sustaining an injury against the Colorado Rapids on May 12th. The Red Bulls have won, lost, and drawn a match during that time and would love to see his return in the Hudson River Derby.
City will be desperate to get past the Red Bulls in the Open Cup. The blue team has been knocked out three straight years by a New York team, with the New York Cosmos beating them twice and the Red Bulls once. All three losses came in City’s first match of the cup that season, meaning they have never won an Open Cup match.
Vieira knows he needs to start producing results for this club. City is flying high in the Eastern conference, sitting just two points behind Atlanta for first place. They will hope their league form can transfer into this cup match as their fans salivate at the chance to see the next round.
For the Red Bulls, their fans know all too well that the Open Cup Final is a long and arduous journey. They will need to focus on this match if they want any hope of bringing silverware to the club. A huge match against the Columbus Crew comes just three days after this match, but Marsch will need to keep his men focused on the task at hand. Though they have a weakened squad, the Red Bulls need to bring their best against City if they want to keep their cup dreams alive.