Players from New York Red Bulls Under-23s and Memphis 901 FC battle for the ball in a Second Round match in the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Memphis 901 FC
Memphis 901 FC’s debut in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup got off to a thunderous start against the New York Red Bulls U-23s. Thunderous because the start of the game was delayed close to an hour due to severe weather in the area. Once the weather moved out and the game got started, it was still quite the thunderous start.
New York took the lead inside five minutes and Memphis grabbed one back just two minutes later. Things settled down somewhat after that. Memphis did bag another goal before the half plus one more in the second half and that was enough to see out the win and advance to the next round of the US Open Cup.
Jochen Graf of Memphis 901 FC looks to the skies during the club’s Second Round match against the New York Red Bulls Under-23s in the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Memphis 901 FC
The theme for Memphis at home this year had been lack of goal scoring and failure to get results. In fact in their first our USL home games they scored just one goal and had zero wins. But a recent run of good form in league play appeared to carry over into the Open Cup as the dam finally broke with Memphis netting two goals in the first half, the first from Cam Lindley on a great free kick and the second from Josh Morton off a fantastic solo run by new signing from Atlanta United, Lagos Kunga.
The second half saw more pressure from Memphis as they wanted to make sure that they put the game completely away and Josh Morton did just that about 15 minutes from time as he headed home a corner to give Memphis a 3-1 lead that they did not give up to seal their first home win of the season.
Coach Tim Mulqueen was quite happy after the game, even dropping Jim Valvano “Survive and Advance” references when talking about the nature of cup play. But Mulqueen was happy to finally get the club’s first home win.
“I think it’s tremendous. The fans have deserved this for the better part of two months,” said Mulqueen. “We had that in our mind, we knew it. It’s something that we have talked about. We wanted to repay them. They stuck through a weather delay tonight as well. We wanted to give them something unique, which is an Open Cup win. Being able to be the first team to do that in club history is important. There will be many more wins at AutoZone Park, but it’s special to get the first one. We’re just really happy to deliver for the fans. I’m really happy for the boys inside. They have worked really hard in training. They deserve this result.”
Credit needs to be given to the Red Bulls and their coach Simon Nee, however. Despite being an academy team of U-23 players, they came out ready to play and stole into what can be described a shock lead after just five minutes on a goal from Jean Paul Marin (who scored in their first round win over FC Motown). And despite going down a goal 20 minutes later, they continued to fight and push. They didn’t back down or shy away from anything.
But at the end of the day, Memphis is a team of professional players, several of whom play for their respective national teams and eventually the talent just took over. One odd thing did occur in the second half as several media members in the press box noticed that Red Bulls had two #19’s on the field at the same time. Luckily for the referee crew and US Soccer, Memphis came away with the victory so there was no need for any extra paperwork or filings or complaints.
Memphis now advances to the third round of the US Open Cup to face Hartford Athletic, a team they just beat in USL play this past weekend in Connecticut. However, while this will be a home game for Memphis, it will not be played at AutoZone Park due to a scheduling conflict with the Memphis Redbirds (the AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals). The game on Wednesday May 28 will instead be played in the stadium at Mike Rose Soccer Complex in the Memphis suburb of Collierville.
This win, combined with Nashville SC advancing, this marks the first time in the history of the tournament that multiple teams from the state of Tennessee have advanced to the Third Round.
Memphis 901 FC 3:1 New York Red Bulls Under-23s
AutoZone Park – Memphis, TN
Goal: 5′, New York Red Bulls U-23, Jean Paul Marin
Goal: 7′, Memphis 901 FC, Cam Lindley
Goal: 25′, Memphis 901 FC, Josh Morton
Goal: 72′, Memphis 901 FC, Josh Morton
Referee: Carlos Peilago
AR1: Benjamin Meyer
AR2: Mario Cabrera
4th Official: Michael Mysiewicz