For the second year in a row the New York Red Bulls and the New York Cosmos were drawn to face each other in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Last year the Cosmos eliminated the Red Bulls, this time for the Fifth Round, the game was at Red Bull Arena and the home team got revenge over their NASL rivals eliminating them with a convincing 4-1 win.
Three-time U.S. Open Cup winner and current Red Bull coach Jesse Marsch, assured everyone that this year the team would take the cup more seriously. Marsch continued to keep his word during his teams’ Round of 16 clash putting together a strong team. The Cosmos came into the game motivated to take out another New York rival after defeating NYCFC in the last round. The team is also currently undefeated this season and find themselves in first place in the NASL.
Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese coached against one of his old clubs. He played for the Red Bulls during their inaugural season and scored their first goal. Cosmos captain Carlos Mendes also made a return to his former home on Wednesday. He played for the Metrostars/Red Bulls for seven seasons.
It was a special night for soccer with so many stars on the field. The game began with big names like Sach Kljestan for the Red Bulls and former Villareal star Marcos Senna and former U.S. Olympic team player Danny Szetela for the Cosmos. Another big name on the Cosmos squad list was former Spanish national team captain Raul who started on the bench.
The game started off hot with both teams hungry to score the first goal. The Cosmos showed they were not going to be intimidated by their MLS counterparts. However, the home team struck first early in the fifth minute when Lloyd Sam crossed the ball into the area for Sal Zizzo to header the ball pass Cosmos goalkeeper James Maurer.
After the goal both teams continued pressing forward. The Cosmos looked dangerous taking shots and putting dangerous crosses in the box. However, many shots taken by both teams went wide.
The Cosmos were rewarded for their efforts in the 16th minute, when goalkeeper Maurer sent the ball down the line for midfielder Walter Restrepo who was able to get passed the defender and pass the ball to Lucky to tie the game after a failed attempt from Matt Miazga to clear the ball.
Later in the 32nd minute the Red Bulls had a goal called back for offside after Lloyd Sam attempted to play a ball to Zizzo. However, in the 42nd the Red Bulls scored a valid goal from a corner kick. Sacha Kljestan crossed the ball straight at Anotole Abang to header the ball into the goal putting the Red Bulls up 2-1.
Both teams kept the same pace coming into the second half. The Cosmos Cup dreams suffered another blow when Red Bulls defender Chris Duvall went down in the box after a tackle from a Cosmos defender forcing the referee to award the home team a penalty kick. Kljestan struck the ball in the middle passed the goalkeeper putting the Red Bulls up 3-1 against their rivals.
Later in the half, Raul came into the game and almost made an immediate impact. After receiving a cross he headed the ball onto the cross bar and Mkosana shot the rebound on the post. Minutes later Senna shot a beautiful free kick on target, but was saved by Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
The Cosmos fought hard to put themselves back in the game, but the task was too difficult and it only got worse in the 90th. Grella sealed the game for the Red Bulls after beautifully getting passed a Cosmos defender in the box and putting the ball away passed the goalkeeper in the far corner of the goal.
After the match Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch praised his team for keeping their composure throughout the entire game. “Even when they put the goal in on us I don’t think there was any panic in our team and we knew just to stick to our game.”
In the quarterfinals the Red Bulls will host the Philadelphia Union.
FULL MATCH REPLAY: COSMOS AT RED BULLS