For the second time in the three seasons that Hans Backe has been in charge of the Red Bulls, he had to make a trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to reach the Quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Standing in his way once again was the City Islanders of USL Pro.
For the second straight time, Bill Becher’s side found a way to get the goals they needed and just like in 2010, it would take the extra time session to do the job for the City Islanders. Sainey Touray got the opening goal early and the match winner late.
An early tally in the 13th minute came from Touray as he headed in a great ball past Ryan Meara for the lead as Brian Ombiji made a great cross at the far side. The winner came at the 94th minute as Harrisburg local Jason Pelletier made a great chip to spring Touray who converted his second of the night.
Even though Lucky Mkosana put the final nail in the coffin for the Red Bulls in the 118th minute it looked like the game was over. The Harrisburg City Islanders advance to face their next in-state rivals of MLS in the Philadelphia Union in Late June.
But unlike the final result on the night, the Red Bulls did dominate the statistics and held most of the possession. They created plenty of chances and unfortunately for them, Nick Noble played very well in goal for the City Islanders.
But there was a positive on the night as once again Connor Lade proved to be a player that continues to impress. 59th minute and Markus Holgersson sent a ball deep into an area that had to defenders ready to play the ball. The bad bounce caused confusion and Lade took advantage scoring his second US Open Cup goal and second professional goal of the year.
Before the Islanders converted their third of the night, a few minutes earlier there was a suspicion of a hand ball in the City Islanders area, and the Red Bulls pleaded with the match official. The referee, who was inconsistent all night with his calls for both sides, declined the request.
While it was another tough pill to swallow for over a hundred visiting Red Bulls fans, after the match they came over to the visitor’s trailer and greeted the players, showing their support and thanks for a hard fought match that had most of the starting lineup in the game.
Covering this side away in Harrisburg again for the US Open Cup, it was a tough loss to take. But once again this is why I love this cup competition; you get to see these teams in the lower divisions take a crack at the sides from the top flight.
The Harrisburg City Islanders are now the new giant killers of the lower levels, taking away that honor from such great sides in the past like the Rochester Rhinos and the Charleston Battery. With Bill Becher running this team I see great things in the future for him and maybe it’s on a National level.
Daniel took some video while at the match in central Pennsylvania. Please enjoy these videos courtesy of MLSTalk. - Ed.