It was a fun night in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the Skyline Sports Complex as the New York Red Bulls traveled from Kansas City to play in their first proper match after three qualifiers. But once the match got started there were two problems the Red Bulls had to face. A tough third division club that was hungry to knock off an MLS side and the Red Bulls former keeper Danny Cepero who was looking for some satisfaction.
The match was evenly played in the first half when both sides had some decent shots against each other, but it was a 25 yd rip from Brian Nielsen that test Cepero early in the first half and Mike Petke had a chance on a corner kick that was served in the area. Greg Sutton was tested early as well and he got in front of some shots as well.
Going into the second half it was Harrisburg who picked up the tempo and wanted to go for the kill. The defense held up well for New York & there were some troubling shots by Conor Chinn & John Wolyniec, but no matter what New York did Harrisburg did a lot more. “We played into their hands and they dictated things” Said Mike Petke “We had some good moments at times, but we could never get control of the ball.” But in second half stoppage time it was a great chance for Harrisburg to get that winning goal.
Mike Petke fouled Sheanon Williams just 2yds away from the penalty area and Harrisburg got a free kick. Once the whistle blew from Alex Prus it was J.T. Noone who took a strange trick shot that was deflected off the New York wall. Corner for Harrisburg, but the cross was headed away & the ref blows his whistle for extra time.
Both sides were trying to get the go ahead goal in extra time but there were few chances to be had. Yet it was Harrisburg that was really trying to make them count. Vince Petrasso in the 104th minute had a chance to put the Islanders ahead, yet he nailed the far post. In the second half of extra time the Islanders kept on attacking and looked determined. A succession of shots in the 117th minute from Kai Kasiguran & Geoff Bloes peppered Greg Sutton then cleared away, but somehow Dominic Oppong retrieved the ball and attacked the net.
He forced Greg Sutton off his line and slotted the ball home inside the near post for the only goal of the match. There was a feeling around Skyline Sportsplex Stadium that we were going into the round of penalties, but Oppong made sure the match would end in extra time. “It started on a shot that I gave up a rebound on & stopped another rebound.”Said Sutton “Then it got spit back on to us and he scored into the side netting.”
After three Qualifiers in late April & in May Hans Backe finally got his true taste of the US Open Cup proper rounds and wasn’t pleased from what his side brought to the field. “Most of the things went wrong for us today.” said Backe” the decision making, action on the ball, the passing game. Those are our strengths and we couldn’t get a grip on any of them, congrats to Harrisburg they deserved it.
Of course there was one man on the field that was making strong saves for the lower level side, as former Red Bulls keeper Danny Cepero was very happy to get into the next round, but revenge wasn’t on his mind. “I don’t look at it as revenge or hold a grudge or anything.” Said Cepero “I still have friends on the other side and they had to do things that was best for them to make their team competitive, but still my team had to win and be competitive.”
For the Harrisburg City Islanders they will move on to the Quarterfinals and face either DC United or the Richmond Kickers on the road. For the Red Bulls, this is another early exit in the US Open Cup. Their last victory in any rounds proper was at the Wilmington Hammerheads in 2006. A fourth round road victory that ended two goals to one from Jordan Cila & Seth Stammler.
Thursday, July 1st 8:00PM EDT – 5:00PM PDT
Round 3 Re-Cap Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Show
Guests: Steven Lenhart: Portland Timbers & Timbers Army Supporter
Chris Riordan DC United Supporter
Re-Cap Red Bulls Extra Time Loss to USL-2nd’s Harrisburg City Islanders with Islanders P.A. Announcer & play-by-play announcer on the road Brian Keyser