HARRISON, N.J. — Keeping a cool head is crucial in any cup match. Same for a local rivalry. Combine the two scenarios, as New York City FC and the Red Bulls did in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, and composure can be hard to come by.
On Wednesday evening at Red Bull Arena, NYCFC suffered the consequences of lost self-control, going down to 10 men early in the second half and letting the match slip toward the Red Bulls in a 3-0 Hudson River Derby result.
The Red Bulls move on to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals, while NYCFC’s deepest ever run in the competition ends. RBNY can reach its third Open Cup final when it faces the winner of next Wednesday’s match between Orlando City SC and Nashville SC.
"It's a big point in this season," said Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber. "I think our basics, our principles our togetherness, especially the mindset today was so clear and so close."
With the Red Bulls already up a goal, NYCFC forward Thiago Andrade was sent off for a head butt during an altercation in the 62nd minute. The Red Bulls widened their lead eight minutes later, while NYCFC showed little promise in attack the rest of the way.
"Going down to 10 players isn't ideal in this game," said NYCFC interim coach Nick Cushing. "Derbies are highly charged games, emotional games. So we have to keep our discipline."
The key card came shortly after a physical challenge by Andrade on Red Bulls defender Sean Nealis that sent the Massapequa native rolling to the ground. Nealis’ teammate John Tolkin had words for Andrade, and the pair continued to jaw as the official attempted to separate them. Andrade then quickly lurched his head toward Tolkin, who immediately cried foul to the onlooking referee. The red card quickly was brandished, and Andrade walked off without complaint of his own.
"The only thing I remember is he was walking away, Thiago, and I was just kind of saying, 'What's up bro? Why'd you kick him?" Tolkin recalled after the match. "And then he came at me and he put his head into me and I was just thinking, like, 'Why me? I'm just gonna laugh in your face, bro. You don't need to be getting so mad.' I guess I egged him on a little bit too much."
Lewis Morgan put the Red Bulls ahead earlier in the second half. He was able to gather an Aaron Long header from a free kick in the box for the opening tally in the 52nd minute. After the sending off, NYCFC added attackers Talles Magno and Maxi Moralez, but few chances came. Luquinhas added to the Red Bulls lead in the 70th minute, and Omir Fernandez scored the dagger in the 90th.
The hard feelings continued through the end of the match, with another altercation occurring after the final whistle. NYCFC striker Valentîn Castellanos appeared to be among those arguing with a few players before a shoving match ensued, with keepers Carlos Coronel and Sean Johnson eventually making the peace. NYCFC's Maxi Moralez and the Red Bulls' Tom Edwards both were shown red cards after the dust settled.
City defender Maxime Chanot alleged Edwards was deserving of a discipline earlier.
"I think that's a mistake from the referee because if you could give him a yellow card right away after five minutes, he won't hack like that any more the rest of the game," Chanot said. "I can give credit to the referee for giving him a red card, I think it's well deserved."
A cool, damp Wednesday evening definitely had a derby feel from the first kick as both sides played a physical, back-and-forth game with energy. NYCFC had more success executing its game plan and playing through the Red Bulls’ press, but the home side was never overmatched.
NYCFC’s Keaton Parks was shown a yellow card for an aggressive sliding tackle in the 15th minute on Luquinhas, although replays showed the City midfielder getting to the ball first, but nevertheless setting the tone for a tense match. Santiago Rodriguez also found his way in the book shortly after for dissent while treatment was given to Luquinhas, who showed little ill-effect his tumble.
By the end of the first half, four yellow cards were issued — NYCFC’s Malte Amundsen and the Red Bulls’ Aaron Long also were booked — and 22 fouls were called, yet no goals were scored as both sides lacked a crisp final touch. The Red Bulls had their best chance right before the break when a scramble in the box game Cristian Cásseres Jr. a chance, but backup keeper Luis Barraza made himself big to keep the ball far from the line, and a Tolkin follow-up sailed wide.