The New York Red Bulls had a quick turnaround from their last league game, into their opening round of the US Open Cup. They were facing a New England Revolution side that was just rescued from a season of disaster as Bruce Arena was brought in to take over for the seaon and beyond.
After going 120 minutes of thrilling US Open Cup action, the Red Bulls were knocked out of the cup, as the Revolution downed them with a scoreline of three goals to two. Teal Bunbury’s brace was the deciding factor as he pulled out the equalizer in the 85th minute, then the match winner in the 109th.
Red Bulls up two goals to one with about five minutes left in regulation, until Bunbury finds space to bury the equalizer. A long looping ball was sent into space along the near side, which Bunbury got to and found a way to score.
When Amro Tarek got to Bunbury he was nutmegged and Bunbury slotted the ball inside the far post to level the match. Bunbury got his second of the match in the second half of extra time as he took advantage of a poor pass.
A turnover by the Red Bulls on a poor pass, which Bunbury was able to take advantage of. Then he attacked the Red Bulls side of the field, which Tarek and Tim Parker were able to get back and defend. Bunbury took a chance to rip a shot, which dipped just underneath the outstretched arms of Ryan Meara and splashed inside the back of the net.
On this night Teal Bunbury wore the Captain’s Armband for the first time as a member of the Revolution, and while he didn’t do much in the first 84 minutes, he came up big within the last 13 minutes to get the victory.
“He’s a very good player and a great individual and when you take over a team in the situation our team is in, you need people with character and he is certainly that kind of person and he’s been a large part responsible for the team regrouping and trying to be more competitive and a little bit more successful. So I’m real pleased with the two weeks I’ve had with this team.” said Bruce Arena.
The match began in surprising fashion as the Revolution scored first inside the first minute when Juan Agudelo took advantage of a miscue inside the Red Bulls area and he punched home the loose ball. Yet the Red bulls knew there was nothing to panic.
Tom Barlow who played in his second US Open Cup tournament (First one was with Chicago United FC in 2017), was able to convert the equalizer in the 19th minute of this match.
After the foul suffered by the Red Bulls, Sean Davis was able to loop a bouncing ball towards Barlow. As he shielded his defender, Barlow took a shot towards the back post and beat Matt Turner. After the start of the second half began, the Red Bulls took the lead in the 54th minute.
Quick passing plays from the home side, then Omir Fernandez saw a wide open Cristian Casserers Jr. who was all alone, and decided to take a chance from distance. After he settled the ball, Casserers Jr. took a rip and beat Turner from distance for the one goal lead.
But the big moment came from Revolution keeper Matt Turner as he stopped a penalty from Alex Muyl in the 65th minute to keep the deficit at one, which is why Bunbury was able to become a factor in this match late.
“That wasn’t a penalty? Yeah, it was. Yeah. So we overcame -- I personally believe it’s a sending off -- so I think we overcame a lot of obstacles tonight and really responded very well and we’re very deserving of this win.” said Arena.
While the Red Bulls were up a man the entire extra time with Luis Caicedo getting a second yellow card and Red inside second half stoppage time, that advantage did nothing to help them move on to the next round.
On this night, the Red Bulls for the very first time in a long time gets knocked out of the Open Cup, in their opening round against an MLS opponent for the first time since the 2010 edition when they traveled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and lost to the City Islanders who are now Penn FC.
Scoreless for the entire 90 minutes , till the final moments of 2nd half extra time when Dominic Oppong beat Greg Sutton and eliminated the visitors in the third round of the tournament.
“It was a strange one because especially the way we started the match, before we know it’s 1-0 in the first minute but to be quite honest with you in terms of the way we try to play, with our pressing and for sure our counter pressing it looked like a Red Bull team and a Red Bull performance that we were in control.” said Chris Armas “And if you really think about it of course it’s the first goal that we give up, a ball behind, which we knew was coming all night long we know that’s what they do, that’s what they emphasize, and then we see the last goal.
“So, we didn’t feel threatened most of the night, just some long balls -- and again it’s, that’s, it’s always this randomness that gets thrown into it. But for a long stretch there we felt pretty good and then for sure to be able to bring on Danny Royer and Kaku and Marc Rzatkowski, we felt really good, so...
We didn’t have a sense of worry. We had things under control. I think it was clear, if you look at any big chances they had down the stretch of regulation, just some free kicks wide. They had no real answers in the run of play.
But they kept probing with balls behind and most of it seemed harmless, even that one where Amro gets isolated, but, look, they make a play, you give them credit on the night because they make a few plays.
Maybe one more than we did, right. So was it for lack of chances? No. Lack of shots? No. We out shot them. And we’re up a man. Which sometimes lives get harder but you have to have patience you have to have ideas you have to understand that the spaces are wide, but, yeah.”
The Red Bulls will have time to get some rest and think about the rest of the MLS regular season, as they will prepare for more than two weeks to take on the Chicago Fre, at Red Bull Arena towards the end of the month.