(NYCFC’s David Villa about to hit the turf after a challenge from Aaron Long of the Red Bulls (33) – USA Today Sports)
The Red Bulls rolled past New York City Football Club 4-0 on Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena in the fourth round of the US Open Cup.
This is the second time in a month that the Red Bulls have won a Hudson River Derby match by that score, as they also did it on May 5 in MLS play.
Just as they did in that game, the Red Bulls took no time at all to get on the board, as Vincent Bezecourt scored in the second minute off a feed from Kemar Lawrence.
This was Bezecourt’s first career first-team goal, and the second fastest goal New York has scored across all competitions this season.
It stayed that way until the second half when Aaron Long scored on a header in the 52nd minute off a corner kick from Marc Rzatkowski to make it 2-0 Red Bulls.
All three of Long’s career goals have been scored on a header.
By that point, NYCFC had very little offense going and decided to pull their one offensive star, David Villa, in the 57th minute.
This was the eighth consecutive time that the Red Bulls held David Villa without a goal at Red Bull Arena across all competitions.
In the 87th minute, Daniel Royer came down the left side, and got a feed from Alex Muyl, who drew all NYCFC defenders to him, leaving Royer alone to bury it and make it 3-0.
Just 1:53 later, Royer was alone on the left side again, and was ready to take advantage of a blocked Muyl shot that deflected right to him and he drilled it to make it 4-0.
Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch said of Royer, “Yeah, it’s obviously one of the big positives on the night is Danny gets two good goals and — and some confidence and keeps building into the season but Danny is a big player for us here and although he has not scored at the rate he has last year, he will. He’s going to, he’s going to keep putting — putting goals together and putting plays together and keep rewarding him is he on the team.
“But from a confidence level, when goal scorers start getting goals, it’s a really good feeling, but I’m really happy to see Danny get two at the end.”
The Red Bulls’ 4-0 Open Cup win tied its largest margin of victory in the tournament against an MLS opponent in franchise history. New York defeated the Tampa Bay Mutiny, 4-0, on July 22, 1998 in the quarterfinals.
Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara tallied four saves to blank NYCFC for the second consecutive year in the Open Cup. Meara recorded his fifth career Open Cup clean sheet and 12th shutout across all competitions.
Sean Davis donned the captain’s armband for the Red Bulls for the first time in his career with the first team.
The difference in this one, in which both teams used a lot of their reserves, was that the Red Bulls use theirs regularly in games for their USL affiliate, Red Bulls II, while NYCFC does not have a reserve team to keep them fresh.
Marsch said of their organization, “Certainly having a second team is good and it’s a good way to develop players but it’s the overall package of what we do. It’s not one thing. It’s everything. I even challenged the team before the game to use us stylistically, whether it’s a derby and a chance for us to showcase our team and showcase our club and showcase what we do here and no doubt our players went out and did that.
“So big sense of pride from performances and a result and a big sense of pride to see guys like Hassan (Ndam), Ethan (Kutler), do really well and show that — that they can handle a game like this. So yeah, I’ve said it a lot, I’ll say it again, we are at the forefront of prayer development in this country. There’s no question, there’s no question that’s where we sit. We’re very proud. It’s another night where we have a good night and we’re very proud of our team and our club.”
NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said of possibly creating a second team, “I think we give it time. I think you look at I think the difference, as well, between the two teams, I think both teams had player who didn’t play often, I would say, but they look more sharp than us and I think one of the reason is they have the B Team and the B Team allow those players to play every week.
Hassan Ndam and Ethan Kutler both earned their first career first-team starts.
Marsch said of player development, “First, really good performance from Aaron and he’s about being a big player around here. In nights where it’s not the full team, you know, Sean Davis wears the armband and then Aaron (Long) has to become a big leader.
“So the — it’s always important to use these moments to help galvanize confidence and belief and for guys to put to practice some of the lessons that we’re trying to team them. So it’s not just about Hassan and Ethan; it’s about Sean’s role as captain and it’s about Ryan continuing to build and Aaron being a big leader back there and you know, Derrick continuing to grow.
“So you have to use every moment as a test to try to challenge people to get better and to grow.
“And ultimately, that feeds into Aaron. When Aaron first came here, he was — we knew he was talented and gifted, right, and we believe firmly that if we can get those kind of guys and their mentality is right — the mentality is a big key to a player’s ability to fit in here.
“But if we find talented players that have the right mentality, we feel strongly that we can with put them into our system, teach them the tactics of how we play, ingrain the habits and reactions of what we want of how we want them to play and turn them into Red Bull players, help them think, eat, breathe, Red Bull, okay.
“And I don’t know if I should even say this, but sometimes I call it brainwashing, right, because when you come here, you have to believe that this is the way to play the game, you have to.
“If you have any doubts or you want to play but you have game and you want to pass the ball around and you want to think all about possessions, this is not your place and it won’t work. You have to buy into who we are and how we do things, and if you do, you are rewarded. We could give countless examples, and that was a little bit of even what I said to Hassan and Ethan tonight with the team is believing in the system, believing in the people, believing in the development program, and believing in the way we play.
“And if you do that, you will you can seed, and we’ve seen is over and over again and Aaron has now turned into a very special player for us, one that we are very proud of.”
Eight of the 11 starters either have played for or currently playing for New York Red Bulls II.
Under Marsch, the Red Bulls are 6-2-2 overall in the Open Cup. Marsch has led them to an unbeaten mark of 3-0-2 at Red Bull Arena during the domestic tournament.
It is the 11th consecutive Open Cup match where New York has scored at least one goal.
US Open Cup Draw: The Open Cup Fourth Round winners will be divided geographically (regardless of league affiliation) into groups of four, with teams who are precluded from playing each other until the Final per tournament regulations (i.e. pro teams and their affiliated Open Division sides) placed in different groups. A random draw will determine the pairings within each group on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET, resulting in a fixed bracket for the remainder of the tournament. Should a precluded pair of teams reach the Semifinal Round and be scheduled to face each other, the matches will be re-drawn after the quarterfinals to avoid this outcome.
The Red Bulls return to MLS play this Saturday at Columbus before returning to Red Bull Arena against Seattle on June 13.