The New York Red Bulls are finishing off this long week of matches this weekend, as they fly to the Queen City and take on expansion side FC Cincinnati. The last time the Red Bulls were at Nippert Stadium was back in 2017 when the Ohio club played in the USL and had a hell of a run from the second round, all the way to the Semi-Finals.
FC Cincinnati defeated AFC CLeveland of the NPSL in the 2nd round, defeated their neighboring rivals Louisville City in the thord round, then took down MLS in-state neighbors Columbus Crew, won in a penalty shootout, after going through a scoreless draw against the Chicago Fire.
Then a Quarterfinals road trip to Miami where it had to be rescheduled due to a massive rain storm that made the original date unplayable, as they won at Ricardo Silva Stadium to host the New York Red Bulls who not only defeated the club, but scored the only goals against them in that year by coming back from a two goal hole.
Gonzalo Veron converted on a loose ball, then Bradley Wright-Phillips headed in the equalizer and the winner in extra time. But now this contest is more than just a one and done, this will be a trip where old memories get brought back and a chance to sweep this series and continue their improvement in the 2019 season.
“We do have a fond memory of that stadium during the Open Cup.” said Armas “A couple of things that stick out was that the game was action packed, drama, goals, we were behind and chasing it.
“Really a fun night. The energy in that stadium was incredible, and it could’ve gone either way. It was a real game out there and they were good at home, they understood the field there, they understood the turf and they get behind the supporters and the supporters get behind them. We hope to give them another hard fought match.”
The man who led FC Cincinnati to that big run back in 2017 was Head Coach Alan Koch who was dismissed by the club on May 7th, after earning seven points in the first four matches, then the bottom fell out very quickly, losing the next seven.
Running the Orange and Blue is Interim Head Coach Yoann Damet who might have already tightened the ship with a win against Montreal, but a poor result at Orlando City, but is this a match that the club needs to be careful away from home.
“It’s hard to say how it’s going to be different, we are still seeing a lot of the player qualities coming out. With those two games against Montreal & Orlando, but we see a team that when they have the ball, can still hurt you, in transition and they have dangerous attackers.” said Chris Armas “But they also have a midfield that’s dangerous with Victor Ulloa, Frankie Amaya, who are really cleaver out there along with Eric Alexander.
“They have options and those guys can play. They can space the field and have some ideas to build out of the back, and they defend well. They are combative and they compete, there will be a sense of urgency with the coaching change.”
We should expect a full squad this coming Saturday as the majority of the players were rested. Only Kaku and Amro Tarek played the full ninety against the Vancouver Whitecaps, which means Tim Parker has already served his one match suspension and the hope is that Aaron Long will be ready to go along with Kemar Lawrence and Michael Murillo as the fullbacks.
“Sean (Nealis) did very well. Obviously this game comes with learning curves. The first couple of games he has done well.” said Tim Parker “Everyone has seen that, but we have to remember that he has only played in his fourth game, he still has a lot to learn.
“Especially with Vancouver being the team that they are, they see that he’s young and inexperience, they wanted to take a run at him. Obviously there is plenty for him to learn from that game, he should take that on and hopefully it won’t happen again.”
If you look at the situation with the Red Bulls, we all know that roster rotation is a big deal, to keep players and starters fresh as well as give those who need the minutes to perform. If you maybe consider what the Red Bulls are going through, can we compare it to what the New York Yankees are going through as well?
“The only thing I can see is that in professional sports you have to have a deep roster, because injuries are going to happen as well as suspensions, and the successful teams are the ones that will have that belief inside their locker room. They will always have that mentality for next man up inside their locker room.” Said Robles
The Red Bulls know what’s at stake, as they get ready for another big match, to try and earn the full three points, as they return to the place where they eliminated the Queen City’s team in the Open Cup back in 2017.