Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Red Bulls Embarrass Themselves in US Open Cup Loss

Captain Mehdi. Yes, You Heard That Right.
The Red Bulls were unceremoniously dumped out of the US Open Cup last night after fielding what could charitably be called as a "C" team and virtually handing the victory to Chicago Fire before a ball was kicked. How little did New York care about advancing in this competition? So little that they gave the captain's armband to the soft-spoken Mehdi Ballouchy.

I broke down all the ugliness and frustration in my match report for Once a Metro last night, but the 4-0 loss doesn't look any better in the cold light of day. Hans Backe and Red Bull management were mercilessly torched on Twitter after the defeat, and rightly so. They will probably never have an easier path to a cup final, but seemed totally uninterested in making the slightest effort to get there. For a club that has enjoyed no success whatsoever for 15+ years, that's inexcusable.

Richmond Kickers would go on to compound our misery later on Tuesday evening, when they beat Sporting Kansas City on the road to punch their ticket to a semifinal match-up against Chicago. Had the Red Bulls been able to get past the Fire, they would have hosted Richmond at Red Bull Arena, and would have been massive favorites to go through. Instead, RBNY is left with one goal to focus on from now until November - MLS Cup.

The USOC fiasco is another kick in the teeth for longtime fans, who have become accustomed to disappointment. There are rumblings on various message boards about fan protests, but it seems unlikely anything substantial will happen as a result of Tuesday's defeat. Not enough people care deeply about the competition to create a critical mass, and the Red Bulls will be on the road for the next week and a half, allowing passions to dissipate.
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