CINCINNATI–After nine years of waiting, the New York Red Bulls are back in a final.
The Red Bulls advanced to their first final in nine years and first U.S. Open Cup championship match in 14 as they came back from two goals down to defeat FC Cincinnati 3-2 in extra time on Tuesday night.
Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the equalizer and the game-winning goal for the Red Bulls, who didn’t come alive until the middle of the second half.
The Red Bulls will visit Children’s Mercy Park on September 20 to take on Sporting Kansas City for the Open Cup.
Cincinnati stood firm in defense during the first 45 minutes chasing the ball and not giving the Red Bulls many chances to shoot from space.
The Red Bulls recorded 10 shots in the first half, but they only managed to put two on target, neither of which significantly challenged Mitch Hildebrandt.
Cincinnati became even more inspired in front of its home crowd in the 31st minute, when Corben Bone struck the roof of the net with a shot from close range.
Forward Danny Konig perfectly laid the ball off to an open Bone, who wasted no time sending Nippert Stadium into a massive uproar, one that gave the club even more energy than it already had.
The first true chance of the second half came from the hosts, as Andrew Wiedeman burst through the Red Bulls line and surged into the right side of the box. However, he couldn’t get a great angle on the shot and it was denied by Ryan Meara.
The magic continued for the home side in the 63rd minute, when Austin Berry headed home Kenney Walker’s corner kick. The celebration that followed electrified Nippert Stadium, but the excitement didn’t last until the end of regulation.
The Red Bulls didn’t quit, as they finally put one in the back of the net in the 75th minute off the boot of substitute Gonzalo Veron, who knocked in the tally from close range.
Bradley Wright-Phillips provided the equalizer just minutes later as he headed home a cross into the bottom-right corner of the net right past a diving Hildebrandt.
Jesse Marsch’s men created a few chances near the end of regulations, as Wright-Phillips banged a shot off the post and Veron challenged Hildebrandt from a tight angle at the right post.
Wright-Phillips put the Red Bulls in the lead for the first time in the 101st minute as he once again made in a run in behind a defender and headed home into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Cincinnati didn’t back down from the challenge though, as it bounced right back and almost leveled the game at three goals a piece. Marco Dominguez appeared to have an open look by the right post, but Tyler Adams surged in and blocked the ball away from the net. Right before the whistle blew on the first half of extra time, Kevin Schindler rocketed a shot from space just wide right of the net.
Cincinnati will face another helping of the Red Bull franchise on Saturday, when it plays Red Bulls II in league play, while the Red Bulls have a short turnaround as they head to Portland for a Friday night contest.
Man of the Match
Bradley Wright-Phillips played the role of hero once again for the New York Red Bulls, as he found the back of the net on two occasions.
Moment of the Match
The 101st-minute game-winner from Wright-Phillips secured the Red Bulls a rare spot in a championship match, one the team and their fans are certainly excited for.
Match to Forget
After holding firm for the first 70 minutes, the FC Cincinnati back line failed to keep track of Veron and Wright-Phillips in the latter stages of the second half and extra time. Harrison Delbridge was the player at fault on the game-winner as he left Wright-Phillips open for a header.