Vincent Bezecourt of the New York Red Bulls celebrates a goal scored against New York City FC in the 2018 US Open Cup. Photo: Bob Larson | TheCup.us
The New York Red Bulls didn’t have superstar attackers Bradley Wright-Phillips or Kaku, but the Major League Soccer power cruised to a 4-0 win over rivals New York City FC in the Fourth Round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
NYCFC has yet to win a match in its four seasons involved in the competition, and fell at Red Bull Arena for the second year in a row without scoring a goal after manager Patrick Vieira made nine changes to the team’s starting XI.
The Red Bulls, who finished as the runner-up in last year’s tournament, were forced to tinker with their lineup as well because of a tight MLS schedule and various players away on international duty.
With Wright-Phillips on the bench to start for the Red Bulls, Vincent Bezecourt wasted no time providing the team with an attacking spark, and broke the deadlock in the third minute with a powerful strike to the bottom right corner.
NYCFC was tested again when Patrick Vieira turned to Sebastien Ibeagha in the sixth minute to replace defender Cedric Hountondji, who was forced out of the match with a leg injury.
NYCFC managed to get more involved in the flow of play as the first half progressed, and nearly found an equalizer in the 37th minute when David Villa’s shot at the near post trickled under goalkeeper Ryan Meara. However, center back Hassan Ndam was in the proper position to clear the ball off the line.
Red Bulls continued to push in the second stanza, and quickly found themselves with a second goal in the 52nd minute after Aaron Long headed home a corner kick.
“First, really good performance from Aaron [Long],” said manager Jesse Marsch. “Nights like this when it’s the full team isn’t here gives these young guys a chance to develop further. Aaron has become a leader, but it’s important to use these moments to help these guys build and challenge the players to get better and grow.
“When Aaron first came here we knew he was talented and gifted. But if we find talented guys with the right mentality then we feel they can become true Red Bull players.”
In the dying moments, Daniel Royer stamped his way onto the score sheet twice in a span of two minutes, giving Red Bulls their second 4-0 win over their cross-river rivals of this season.
“It’s one of the big positives on the night,” Marsch said. “Danny [Royer] played a huge role for us tonight. From a confidence standpoint it was really good to see him get back on the scoresheet tonight.”