Hoping to change their US Open Cup performances of past, the New York Red Bulls picked up only their fourth win since reaching the 2003 tournament final as they avoided embarrassment by eliminating the PDL Reading United AC 2-0 on a pair of second half goals Wednesday night in the Third Round. Lloyd Sam was involved in both strikes with a goal and assist.
In the first few minutes of the game Reading United showed signs that they were not just coming to Red Bull Arena for the experience. They showed to be aggressive off the ball when trying to retrieve possession. The Red Bulls, with experienced players like Juninho and Peguy Luyindula, quickly took control of the game by keeping most of the possession. The Red Bulls kept Reading goalkeeper John McCarthey and his defense on their feet with a number of shots.
Quick one two passes between Juninho, Luyindula and Amando Moreno allowed the Red Bulls to penetrate Reading’s defense, but thanks to quick thinking by Reading’s defense, they were able to keep a clean sheet in the first half.
New York’s best chance came in the 15th minute when McCarthy came up with two huge back-to-back saves after stopping shots from Connor Lade and Amando Moreno in the box. While the Red Bulls did dominate possession, Reading also had a few good chances to score goals. Their quick forwards always posed a threat when they came close to Ryan Meara’s goal, however, most of their shots went wide without Meara needing to come up with a save.
In the second half Red Bulls coach Mike Petke decided to take out Juninho and Luyindula for Dax McCarty and Fabian Espindola, a move that would prove crucial in the outcome of the game. The second half played out the same way as the first with the Red Bulls dominating possession, but not with as many opportunities as in the first 45 minutes.
Even though the Red Bulls did not have as many shots in the second half, they opened the scoring in the 61st after a sequence of quick one-two passes between McCarty, Sam and Espindola. McCarty started the sequence with Sam, which gave McCarty room to send the ball to Espindola in the box for an easy tap-in to put the Red Bulls ahead 1-0.
Just six minutes later the Red Bulls put the game away with Sam scoring the second goal of the game. Another quick one-two pass between Sam and Espindola gave Sam enough room in the box to fire the ball past John McCarthy.
After the second goal the Red Bulls took control of the game. Reading’s best chance came in the 69th minute when Damian Lowe almost put his name on the score sheet with a header coming from a corner kick that was saved by Meara’s thigh. After that small scare the Red Bulls maintained control and sealed their spot in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
With this win the Red Bulls will play their I-95 rivals New England Revolution in the fourth round away from home. The victory against Reading moved Red Bulls’ undefeated streak to eight games in all competitions.
NY: Fabian Espindola (Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam) 61’
NY: Lloyd Sam (Fabian Espindola) 67’
NY: Markus Holgersson (caution) 90’
REA: Ben Sweat (caution) 94’+
New York Red Bulls – Ryan Meara, Brandon Barklage, Markus Holgersson, Heath Pearce, Roy Miller, Lloyd Sam (Eric Alexander 84’), Juninho (Dax McCarty 46’), Michael Bustamante, Connor Lade, Peguy Luyindula (Fabian Espindola 46’), Amando Moreno
Substitutes Not Used: Santiago Castano, Kosuke Kimura, Jonny Steele, Andre Akpan
Reading United AC – John McCarthy, Damian Lowe, Ben Sweat, Jimmy Ockford, Wes Charpie (Dante Marini 73’), Steve Neumann, Jonny Doezel, Keegan Rosenberry (Fatai Alashe 60’), Kadeem Dacrees, Mario Pinto (Darius Madison 60’), Larry Ndjock
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Shane Campbell, Manolo Sanchez, Melvin Snoh
Referee: Mark Gorak
Referee’s Assistants: TJ Zablocki, Danny Thornberry
4th Referee: Ryan Dos Reis