Following Sunday’s thrilling match against Columbus, it’s time for the Red Bulls to make a quick turnaround and get back into the action.
New York plays host to Reading United A.C. Wednesday evening in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. Reading’s 1-0 win over Harrisburg in the second round of Open Cup play stands as the club’s first ever in the history of the tournament. Previously, they’d come close against the same opponent when they fell to the Harrisburg City Islanders in 2011 by the final score of 2-1. A little vengeance can go a long way, especially in terms of momentum as the team heads into the next round.
For the Red Bulls, Head Coach Mike Petke and company will look to maintain the club’s current unbeaten streak while entering into the tournament in the third round match up. Last season, New York defeated the Charleston Battery 3-0 in the third round of play before falling to Harrisburg 3-1.
This season marks the first time since 2011 that New York has hosted an Open Cup match at Red Bull Arena, and Petke is hoping the club’s run doesn’t end where it started.
“This is a big game for them. It’s a huge game for us as well,” Petke said. “The one thing that we emphasize is that it doesn’t matter who we play, it doesn’t matter how many people are in the stands; this is a big opportunity and this is something that we’re taking very seriously, the U.S. Open Cup.”
Should New York advance, the club will travel up I-95 to face the New England Revolution, who came out on top 5-1 Tuesday evening when they defeated the Rochester Rhinos. But first things first, all eyes are set on the business at hand – Reading.
“It’s not a light game that we’re taking and we’re just going to give players minutes,” Petke said. “Everybody who is out there I know can get the job done or else they wouldn’t be out there. It’s a great opportunity for them but they cannot lose sight of what we’re trying to do, which is get a result [Wednesday].”
Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara, who’s set to make his return to the pitch for the first time in almost a year, is familiar with the PDL, more specifically Reading United. He played against the Pennsylvania side a number of times before going pro with the Red Bulls in 2012. Personnel changes aside, it’s still a club that consistently brings out the best in its players.
“I know they’re going to be good,” Meara said. “When I played PDL for Jersey Express that was the team we always went up against. They were in our division. They have a good team, good college kids every year. For them it’s the biggest game of the year. Coming to Red Bull Arena, playing against us, I’m sure they’ll be up for it and we have to match it and show that we’re the professional team. I think it’ll be a good night.”
New York begins its run for the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday at 7:30 PM. We’ll have a live stream of the match starting at that time, with MSG’s Steve Cangialosi and Shep Messing calling the action.
Tickets for Wednesday’s Open Cup match are available at Red Bulls Ticket Central, at the box office prior to kick off, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.