On Friday the New York Red Bulls were drawn with Hartford Athletic in the Third Round of the 2022 U.S. Open Cup. The Bulls will travel to central Connecticut on the evening of April 20 to face the USL Championship team at Trinity Health Stadium.
U.S. Soccer conducted the draw, the largest one ever performed live by the federation, on Friday following the conclusion of this week’s Second Round.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the United States’ national knockout soccer tournament and one of the oldest soccer competitions in existence. It’s open to teams at every level of the country’s soccer pyramid and every professional team takes part. The competition is divided into rounds with each round bringing in higher division teams. The single elimination format means the last team standing wins the cup, $300,000, and a spot in the following year’s CONCACAF Champions League.
The Third Round has 17 Major League Soccer teams entering the 2022 tournament. Eight more, including New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union, were granted a bye through this round based on last season’s league results.
Hartford advanced to the Third Round by beating Long Island amateurs Oyster Bay United FC, 3-1, on Thursday night. This will be the first time New York has ever played against Athletic in any form. However, Hartford has played New York Red Bulls II in the USL Championship since 2019. They hold a 6-1-3 (W-D-L) record over NYRB II including a six game win streak between July 2020 and June 2021.
The Bulls were put in a regional group for the draw with Hartford, D.C. United, Flower City Union (NISA), Rochester New York FC (MLS Next Pro), and FC Motown (NPSL). New Open Cup rules meant that RBNY couldn’t face DCU in the Third Round. Both are from Division 1 and teams from the same division are barred from playing one-another in the round they enter in (barring geographical hurdles). New York applied to host the game but were not drawn to do so.
Red Bull haven’t faced a local lower division club since 2016. Sacha Kljestan’s first half penalty kick was enough then for a 1-0 win against the Rochester Rhinos in western New York. Since that game the team’s open cup opposition has nearly exclusively been fellow Major League Soccer teams including two straight Fourth Round victories over NYCFC (2017 & 2018). Their last game against anyone outside of Division 1 in the tournament was the 2017 Semifinal against FC Cincinnati (then a member of the United Soccer League).
The other northeast matchups have Morristown, New Jersey amateurs FC Motown traveling west to Rochester New York FC (the former Rochester Rhinos). Motown is packed with RBNY links including head coach Šaćir Hot and former Ghanian international Gideon Baah. They are one of two amateur teams left in the competition alongside North Carolina Fusion Under-23. Both are playing for $50,000 as the best Open Division team this year. The other game has DC United also going to Rochester to play Flower City Union.
New York will look to improve following its last appearance in the Open Cup. A short-rested squad fell in its only game to the New England Revolution in extra time, 3-2, at Montclair State University in 2019’s Fourth Round.
2022 U.S. Open Cup Third Round Matches (Home team listed first) - April 19-21:
- Flower City Union (NISA) vs D.C. United (MLS)
- Hartford Athletic (USL-C) vs New York Red Bulls (MLS)
- Rochester New York FC (MLSNP) vs FC Motown (NPSL)
- Richmond Kickers (USL-1) vs North Carolina Fusion U23 (USL-2)
- Greenville Triumph SC (USL-1) vs Charlotte FC (MLS)
- Detroit City FC (USL-C) vs Columbus Crew (MLS)
- FC Cincinnati (MLS) vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (USL-C)
- Louisville City FC (USL-C) vs St. Louis City SC 2 (MLSNP)
- Forward Madison FC (USL-1) vs Minnesota United FC (MLS)
- Chicago Fire FC (MLS) vs Union Omaha (USL-1)
- Phoenix Rising FC (USL-C) vs New Mexico United (USL-C)
- Real Salt Lake (MLS) vs Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (USL-1)
- San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) vs Bay Cities FC (NISA)
- Sacramento Republic FC (USL-C) vs Central Valley Fuego FC (USL-1)
- FC Tucson (USL-1) vs California United Strikers FC (NISA)
- LA Galaxy (MLS) vs San Diego Loyal SC (USL-C)
- Los Angeles FC (MLS) vs Orange County SC (USL-C)
- Houston Dynamo FC (MLS) vs Rio Grande Valley FC (USL-C)
- San Antonio FC (USL-C) vs Austin FC (MLS)
- FC Dallas (MLS) vs FC Tulsa (USL-C)
- Atlanta United FC (MLS) vs Chattanooga FC (NISA)
- Birmingham Legion FC (USL-C) vs South Georgia Tormenta FC (USL-1)
- Miami FC (USL-C) vs Inter Miami CF (MLS)
- Orlando City SC (MLS) vs Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL-C)