Jul 24, 2016; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls fans react after the fourth goal against New York City FC during second half at Red Bull Arena. The New York Red Bulls won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls defeated Philadelphia on Sunday to move into fifth place in the East and have an upcoming US Open Cup Game on the 28th.

The New York Red Bulls now sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The team’s overall points are 23. This is only nine points behind first place Toronto and four points behind third place NYCFC. With both regular season and US Open Cup games, the month of June has proven packed full of play.

In the next two weeks, RBNY will play both USOC games and MLS regular season games. June 24th will be against NYCFC (regular season) and June 28th will be against Philadelphia (USOC).

RBNY is in solid position in both the MLS regular season and USOC. This raises the question: Which title is most important for RBNY to win?

  • US Open Cup
  • MLS Cup
  • Supporters’ Shield
  • CONCACAF Champions League

A survey of fans revealed that MLS Cup is the most important title to win. In second place, CONCACAF Champions League. For a moment lets look at MLS Cup wins history.

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Total Wins:

LA Galaxy – 5
DC United – 4
Houston – 2
Sporting KC – 2
San Jose – 2
Chicago – 1
Columbus – 1
Real Salt Lake – 1
Colorado – 1
Portland – 1
Seattle – 1

Out of 22 current teams, 11 have won an MLS Cup championship. Six original MLS teams from 1996 have won the Cup. Dallas, New England, Tampa Bay (no longer has a team), and New York all have yet to hoist the ultimate MLS prize.

This provides a strong case why the New York Red Bulls need to win an MLS Cup. While New England, Dallas, and New York have all been in the championship they all lost. Perhaps it is time that RBNY make another run at the MLS Cup and finally bring home a league championship. Since the team has already brought home two Supporters’ Shields a regular season win is not in high demand. While another would be nice, fans absolutely want, or demand, that RBNY win an MLS Cup. This would certainly solidify RBNY’s place with all other founding teams as MLS champions.

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While the MLS Cup is certainly important, the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League are competitions to consider. The US Open Cup, a competition between American teams of various levels is the oldest domestic competition in US Soccer. Also, it is a competition that RBNY has yet to win. Many MLS and non-MLS teams have been called US Open Cup Champion. For MLS teams, however, USOC title wins look like this:

Chicago- 4
Seattle- 4
DC United- 3
Sporting KC- 3
LA Galaxy- 2
FC Dallas- 2
New England Revolution- 1
Columbus- 1

Currently, RBNY have not won a US Open Cup. New England and FC Dallas, however, won this competition. This makes RBNY the only founding 1996 team that has not won a domestic tournament championship. For this reason, this year’s current Supporters’ Shield race is important. Being in the round of 16 against a Philadelphia team who they just defeated 2-0 away, RBNY have a solid opportunity. While not the MLS Cup, a US Open Cup title would satisfy the club’s title drought.

The CONCACAF Champions League is a bit different of a story. Since it is a regional competition between the locations in CONCACAF the competition is a bit more difficult. In fact, an MLS team has never won a title. All wins have been from Mexican sides. The most titles belong to Monterrey with three. As a competition that has proven extremely difficult for MLS sides, the CONCACAF Champions League is certainly a competition to win. In some respects, a win in a tournament such as this may be equivalent, if not more significant than an MLS Cup Championship.

This, of course, is my opinion which differed from the survey. I cannot deny that an MLS Cup Championship is important for the New York Red Bulls. I also cannot deny the level of competition that the CONCACAF Champions League brings. This being said since no MLS side has won the competition, I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if RBNY win the Champions League and not an MLS Cup.

A win in the CONCACAF Champions League would also bring international respect to the club. With the Red Bulls organization being global, international recognition compared to the Salzburg and Leipzig teams is important.

For now, the New York Red Bulls have a great opportunity. The team is still hopeful for a Supporters’ Shield run, but is extremely focused on an MLS Cup. RBNY, being in the round of 16, are also in prime position to win a US Open Cup. A CONCACAF Champions League run is also not out of the question. Perhaps RBNY may be the first team to win all four. What do you think is the most important competition for RBNY to win? Also, what do you think their chances to win MLS Cup are this year?

 NEXT: NYRB Back on Track, BWP Scores 2 (Highlights) 


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