There's a healthy buzz around the Internet today following Tuesday night's U.S. Open Cup action. And why not? The Red Bulls' 3-0 shutout win over the Charleston Battery wasn't the only exciting match of the night. In fact, the full night's worth of matches resulted in a number of upsets, as seven MLS sides were eliminated from contention.
MLSsoccer.com has an individual breakdown of each match, complete with a short summary of some of the most intense matches of the night.
Obviously the level of excitement of each match is up to a fan's own interpretation, but I doubt you'll find anyone who will deny the fact that the Harrisburg City Islanders vs. New England Revolution match was anything short of dramatic.
Once the Red Bulls defeated the Battery, it would come down to the winner of that match to determine the who, when and where of New York's fourth round Open Cup meeting.
New England played a majority of the match down a man, yet still closed out the first 90 minutes in a scoreless draw against Harrisburg. But, seeing as how each match up must produce a winner, a draw was not an option. During extra time, New England jumped out to an explosive 3-0 lead. At that point it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Red Bulls would be hosting the Revolution at Red Bull Arena. After all, a 3-0 lead is pretty much a lock in extra time, right?
Well, not exactly.
The City Islanders caught fire and scored three goals of their own to draw level in the additional 30 minutes of time. From there, Harrisburg closed out its rally with a picture-perfect finish in penalty kicks to not only advance to the next round, but also host the Red Bulls at Skyline Sports Complex in PA on June 5 (7:30 p.m. kickoff).
One of the reasons I love the U.S. Open Cup is the opportunity to discover American soccer in full depth. We can all find the top of the totem pole, the men’s and women’s national teams and MLS. But there’s a lot of soccer out there that’s not fully professional, that’s lesser adorned and not necessarily attached to network TV contracts.
One-by-one the results kept coming in Tuesday night, with each one seeming more unlikely than the last. On perhaps the wildest, most unpredictable night in U.S. Open Cup history, seven MLS teams were eliminated from the competition the third round, and the manner in which some of them were sent packing was downright shocking.
If the fourth round of U.S. Open Cup action turns out to be just as intense as the third, then fans will undoubtedly be treated to some more exciting soccer.
Mark your calendars: Red Bulls vs. City Islanders on Tuesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET
New York remains undefeated at home with a 4-0-1 record. The next home match at Red Bull Arena is set for May 23 when the Red Bulls host Chivas USA. You can get your tickets at Red Bulls Ticket Central or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.
Here are a few photos from Wednesday's win:
The Red Bulls cruised to their third-straight victory and third-straight shutout Wednesday night when they defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at Red Bull Arena (Recap).
Kenny Cooper notched the lone Red Bulls goal in the seventh minute as he charged in to disrupt a seemingly safe back pass toward goal. As Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall was forced to make a sprawling attempt to cover up, Cooper just got enough of his foot on it to send the ball on goal and into the mesh for his eighth of the season (Watch: Cooper's Goal).
Rookie 'keeper Ryan Meara was once again spectacular in goal, stopping all three of Houston's attempts, complete with some circus-like theatrics in the final minutes of the match (Watch: Meara's Save).
The Red Bulls return to action Sunday when they head to PPL Park in Philly for a 12:30pm ET kickoff against the Union (watch live on ESPN2).
New York's next home game is three weeks off, as they're set to face off against Chivas USA for a 7pm ET kick on May 23. Tickets are available on Red Bulls Ticket Central or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.
Check out the full highlights from Wednesday's win:
If you saw it the first time you have to see it again. And if you haven't seen it yet - well, that's why we're here.
Ryan Meara came up with a huge save in stoppage time as the Houston Dynamo made every possible attempt to exit Red Bull Arena with one point Wednesday night.
In the 93rd minute of the match, Dynamo midfielder Calen Carr put a solid header attempt on goal that nearly fooled Meara. But as you'll see in the video below, the rookie 'keeper was up for the challenge with this juggling save:
Kenny Cooper gave the Red Bulls an early 1-0 lead when he buried his eighth of the season in the seventh minute of Wednesday's match. Here's a replay of Coop's goal: