Thursday, May 27, 2010

US Open Cup: Red Bulls 3 Colorado 0 - A Look Back

On an unseasonably hot evening at Red Bull Arena, with temperatures at gametime still hovering around the 90 degree mark, the Baby Bulls (plus a sprinkling of veterans) once again put in an impressive performance against a Colorado Rapids team that featured a number of first choice starters.

An early goal from John Wolyniec after some excellent build-up play by Irving Garcia put the Red Bulls in the driver's seat and from there they never really let up.  Wolyniec added another before half-time after some hard work by Tony Tchani and - despite viper's warnings about a 2-0 lead being the hardest to defend - the result was never really in doubt.  Conor Chinn's goal in the second half, another one of his trademark unorthodox strikes, was just the icing on the cake.  3-0 is your final and your New York Red Bulls are through to the US Open Cup proper, where they will now face lower league opposition TBD.

The ticket giveaway after the Seattle home match had only a marginal effect on attendance, which remains in the 2,000+ range.  Despite the low attendance, I find that I am actually preferring these USOC games to league matches for a number of reasons.  First, the crowds, parking and access to amenities around the stadium are better.

Second and more importantly, the Red Bulls' younger players seem to be playing with a bit more fire than many of our first team squad.  Everyone loves a good underdog story, and it's hard not to root for a tiny guy like Irving Garcia who was selected late in the draft but has emerged as a bit of a revelation after successive strong performances against Juventus and Colorado. After some early reports from training had people doubting his commitment, Tony Tchani has started showing everyone the reasons why he was selected second overall in the draft - strong on the ball, commanding the midfield well, and looking very assured.  With Carl Robinson facing a long layoff after knee surgery, Tchani now has a chance to really cement a place in the starting XI.  Another player who deserves some major props for raising his game this season is Sinisa Ubiparipovic.  Yes, he's still prone to the occasional silly mistake, but he has really flourished when paired in midfield with Tchani.  Carlos Mendes, who has now taken the captain's armband in back to back matches, has also done a nice job.

Viper will be along either later today or tomorrow with his usual half time and full time video, as well as photos.  The Red Bulls are now selling the Warface by Design hockey masks at the Bull Shop, and of course none of us could resist, so you also have that to look forward to.

I will be traveling up to the New England game on Saturday evening at Foxboro.  With the US National Team game against Turkey taking place earlier in the day, there should only be a small contingent of RBNY fans on hand.  Hopefully we can bring home all three points and get the league campaign back on track after three successive losses.  I would be totally fine with Backe making massive substitutions at half time if the first team comes out flat again.  With New England struggling mightily early in the season, this is a golden opportunity to step on their necks.  Let's not blow it, OK?

Finally, for those of you starting to get World Cup fever (you know, that little tournament that is happening when the MLS takes a break?), the team at All Things Footy, including yours truly, has been taking a look at each of the groups, highlighting the strengths, weaknesses and key players of each international squad.  You can find my Group G preview here and my Group A preview here.  Clicking on the World Cup 2010 keyword will bring up ATF's full coverage, including the other group previews and USMNT commentary.  I must admit that I'm not really feelin' it yet, especially after the Americans' dismal performance against the Czechs on Tuesday, but I'm sure I will get into it once the games begin.
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