The New York Red Bulls advanced to the Quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 3-1 victory over Charlotte FC at Montclair State University Soccer Park on Wednesday night.
Patryk Klimala, Dylan Nealis, and Tom Barlow all found the scoresheet to ensure New York won the first-ever meeting between the two teams, while Daniel Ríos bagged an impressive goal for Charlotte.
The Red Bulls, an MLS original who are still seeking the club’s first US Open Cup title, advance to the Quarterfinals for the 10th time, and the first time since 2017 (the year they finished runner-up).
Both teams entered the Round of 16 on the back of impressive road victories. New York triumphed over DC United 3-0 at Audi Field, while Charlotte disposed of the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium 5-1.
The Red Bulls got off to a lightning fast start through Klimala in just the 2nd minute. A corner from Tom Edwards ricocheted off the foot of Aaron Long right into the path of Klimala, who rifled the ball into the top left corner from point-blank range to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead.
The ball hit the back of the net 63 seconds into the match, which, according to the club, is the fastest US Open Cup goal ever scored by a Red Bulls player.
Charlotte didn’t dwell on the Klimala tally and responded immediately. A long ball from Kristijan Kahlina in the Charlotte net was misjudged in the air by Sean Nealis, springing Andre Shinyashiki behind the Red Bulls defense. Shinyashiki found Daniel Ríos, who stayed composed and slid the ball through the legs of Nealis and past Carlos Coronel to level the score at one.
Klimala had a prime chance for a brace in the 41st minute, when he received a through ball from Luquinhas and cut back brilliantly on Guzmán Corujo. His left-footed empty curled just inches wide of the far post.
It was a chippy and testy affair that saw six total yellow cards brandished, four to New York and two to Charlotte. Speaking on the performance of referee Ernie Constantine, Red Bulls manager Gerhard Struber did not hold back.
“This is crazy when you play this level of football and have referees that are not ready. From the tempo, the physical side … the confidence to make good decisions. Especially Luquinhas, we can be happy that he is not injured after a game like that,” Struber said. “I cannot say this was only in our direction, bad decisions in both directions. The referee was outstanding bad.”
In the second half, the Red Bulls found another gear. Klimala made his night a memorable one in the 63rd minute, when he blew past Guzmán Corujo and laid a perfect ball across the box to Dylan Nealis who tapped it in to put New York in front 2-1. This tally was a special one for Nealis, as it was his first professional goal.
New York put their finishing touches on the game in the 92nd minute. Luquinhas stole the ball from Christian Makoun deep in the Charlotte half and remained composed, slotting the ball across the six yard box for substitute Tom Barlow to finish off. That made the score 3-1 and sealed the victory for New York.
After their first home victory of the season, the Red Bulls advance to the quarterfinals where they will host NYCFC on June 22 in another rendition of the Hudson River Derby. In the immediate future, New York will welcome an old foe in D.C. United to Red Bull Arena on Saturday in MLS play.
Charlotte FC won’t bring home the US Open Cup in their inaugural MLS season, but there’s still plenty to play for on the MLS side of things. Currently 7th in the Eastern Conference, Charlotte will travel to Lumen Field for a matchup with the CONCACAF Champions League winners Seattle Sounders on Sunday.