The New York Red Bulls defeat Union in penalty kicks 5-4 to advance in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

The New York Red Bulls scored late in the first half against the Philadelphia Union. What was a redemption game in light of their previous two US Open exits, RBNY came away victorious.

In the last ten minutes of the game, the Union’s Roland Alberg tied up the match which sent the game into overtime and penalty kicks. Ryan Meara, both in overtime and penalty kicks came up big. He saved Picault’s PK and sent RBNY into the next round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

First Half

The New York Red Bulls looked calm and collective for most of the first half. Again, RBNY dominated their opponent in possession and shots. More important, RBNY compiled four shots on goal, much improved from the NYCFC game on the 24th.

Early opportunities manifested for RBNY. Lawrence was involved in near-miss opportunities in the 6th and 25th minutes.

Ryan Meara was the early match defensive hero with a double save on a Fabrice-Jean Picault breakaway.

Ultimately, in the 42nd minute, BWP crossed a ground ball to an open Kljestan who calmly slotted it into the back of the net. This was Kljestan’s first point since the May 19th game vs Toronto. A well-deserved point as this was his first goal of the 2017 season.

First Half Stats:

  • Score: RBNY 1 – PHI 0
  • Shots: RBNY 12 – PHI 4
  • Shots on Goal: RBNY 4 – PHI 2
  • Possession: RBNY 59% – PHI 41%

Second Half

RBNY came out swinging in the second half. While no early goals were produced, RBNY kept nearly 60% of possession. BWP also had an early opportunity in the 48th and 56th minutes. Both chances failed to find the back of the net.

Ryan Meara kept RBNY on top in the 62nd minute with a huge stretch save, preventing the Union from tying the game 1-1. Robles must have been proud.

The score came close to being equalized in the 73rd minute as CJ Sapong almost put home a strong header against Meara. Fortunately, for RBNY it deflected off the post back into play and cleared by the defense.

A Union foul on Connor Lade in the 85th minute gave RBNY a good opportunity to go up 2-0. Unfortunately, they couldn’t convert as Philadelphia easily defended the initial kick.

The Union tied the game a minute later as a hard low shot by Roland Alberg beat Ryan Meara on his right and found the back of the net. A late-game goal was disappointing to see as Meara played an extremely well-played game.

The New York Red Bulls for the rest of the second half sat back in their defensive third as the Union pressed high.

Second Half Stats:

  • Score: RBNY 1 – PHI 1
  • Shots: RBNY 15 – PHI 14
  • Shots on Goal: RBNY 4 – PHI 5
  • Possession: RBNY 60.3% – PHI 39.6%


The first 15 minutes of overtime was uneventful. The New York Red Bulls failed to get one shot on target both in the last half of regulation and the first half of overtime. This has plagued the team all season. Fortunately, for RBNY the Union were also unsuccessful in finding the back of the net.

In the 16th minute of overtime, Meara went into a full stretch to save a Union shot to keep RBNY in the game. A hit off the post in the 21st minute denied the Union an opportunity for a game-winning goal. For the rest of the second half of overtime, both worn-down clubs were unable to score.

In the end, RBNY was able to find revenge as they pulled out a win in penalty kicks. Meara was the hero as he saved Picault’s shot.

RBNY will visit New England in the next round of the US Open Cup.

Jesse Marsch lauded Ryan Meara’s game-time and overtime performance. He noted that despite Meara’s place behind Robles, he is a “top 22” MLS keeper. Today certainly proved that.

Confident Ryan Meara stated, “I was confident once we got to penalties that we’d be alright.” He continued that his previous experience in USL experience prepared him for moments such as this.

Captain Sacha Kljestan, scored his first goal of 2017. He later said about his goal that, “It felt good to finally get a goal this season, it has been way too long.”

Kljestan also commented on the team’s improved attacking performance. When asked about the team’s improved attack in the final third he commented, “Obviously only one goal is not enough. Creating better chances, having a little bit more clarity, better passing on the ball, a little bit better.”

Final Stats:

  • Score: RBNY 1 – PHI 1 (RBNY win 5-4 PK’s)
  • Shots: RBNY 17 – PHI 27
  • Shots on Goal: RBNY 4 – PHI 8
  • Possession: RBNY 57.5% – PHI 42.6%

Penalty Kick Tally:

  • RBNY PK Takers: Zizzo, Veron, Royer, Kljestan, Felipe
  • PHI PK Takers: Alberg, Pontius, Picault, Epps


Chris Sudol is a former college soccer player who now avidly supports the New York Red Bulls, Arsenal, and Barcelona, among many other soccer teams.