After heading home in the middle of their four match road trip earlier this week, the New York Red Bulls took on their first opponents in the 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup — FC New York.
This would be the first time since 1999 when this club, either as the MetroStars or Red Bulls, would face a side from the five boroughs. The short lived Staten Island Vipers defeated the Metros in extra time when Billy Walsh’s brace forced the extra session.
The first half was scoreless but there were so many chances from the Red Bulls that they kept swarming FC New York with every opportunity they got. Credit goes to FC New York keeper Steven Diaz for keeping his side in the match every single time Juan Agudelo would make a run or when Marcos Paullo would take a rip from distance.
But things got interesting for the visitors as Interim Coach Paul Shaw made two substitutions that got them the first goal of the match. Owen Morrison came in for Bradley Welch at the start of halftime. And Don Smart was subbed in for Gary Boughton in the 54th minute.
Two minutes later it would be Smart finding Morrison and from forty yards out it was a big blast that beat Greg Sutton top shelf to give the new kids on the block a one goal lead. It was a fantastic strike that made you think the Red Bulls were going to bow out early again, but the two super draft picks found a way to even things up and get the lead.
The baby bulls kept on attacking and tried to knock on the door. Juan Agudelo on a bad clearence lept and headed the ball towards his right and found Corey Hertzog who caught the keeper cheating and shot a hard side footed blast that leveled the score.
Then in the 65th minute it would be the young brother of Wayne Rooney that finally got his chance to go the full ninety minutes. Tim Ream who wore the captain’s armband for this match gave a solid pass that led John Rooney towards the area, he surprised Diaz with a hard low roller that splashed the back of the net. After all the videos during the combine and spring training Rooney finally got his chance to shine and took his shot well.
For Greg Sutton this was a makeup game after giving up seven goals on the road. You knew he couldn’t save the screamer from Morrison, but all match long he made some solid saves and was very proud of the kids who performed on the field. For the first time since 2006 at the Wilmington Hammerheads, the Red Bulls advance to the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup and they will travel back to Toyota Park and face the Chicago Fire on Tuesday, July 12.
You can tell after three rounds proper in the US Open Cup that FC New York is a tough scrappy side that has gotten better as the season has progressed. Paul Shaw has some good players and right now his influence can make FC New York into a better side in the USL Pro league. But on this night, Cinderella’s fairy godmother broke the glass boot.