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Red Bulls face two games in two days with U.S. Open Cup scheduling


Photo by Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports


New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch will have quite the decision on his hands when it comes to prioritizing the upcoming quarterfinal of the U.S. Open Cup.

The Red Bulls announced Wednesday that the quarterfinal matchup against the Philadelphia Union will take place on July 21 at Red Bull Arena, just one day before the team takes on Chelsea at the same venue in the International Champions Cup.

In addition, the U.S. Open Cup game will kick off at 4 p.m. with another ICC matchup between Paris-Saint German and Fiorentina kicking off that night a 8:30 p.m. to push Red Bull Arena’s hosting duties to three games in two days.  Each match will require a separate ticket for entry.

According to Empire of Soccer, the Red Bulls attempted to have the match rescheduled to avoid the logjam of games, but were reneged by the Union, who looked to use the conflict to snag home-field advantage. Instead, the Red Bulls opted for the current setup in an effort to maintain the game’s scheduling at Red Bull Arena.

Prior to the upcoming quarterfinal, the Red Bulls topped the New York Cosmos, 4-1, to earn their spot in the final eight, while the Union topped D.C. United in their Round of 16 clash.

What do you think of the current situation? How will the Red Bulls be impacted? What kind of teams do you expect Marsch to utilize?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. agree that these friendlies don’t mean much to MLS fans, but good for the clubs to maybe cross promote some more soccer and maybe bring in some new fans that like the euro teams more, and make some extra $, that always helps and will eventually benefit the MLS teams – more money in the system the better, and eventually it will grow to where players are paid more, and the league will grow, etc…

    • I admire your optimism, but I would respectfully disagree. These games do not show the MLS sides at their best, and I don’t think they are going to make MLS fans of the people who come just to see their favorite European team. Indeed, I think that seeing MLS’s willingness to interrut itsr own season to provide pre-season scrimmages for the visitors may cause such fans to have less respect for MLS, not more. I also don’t know (as with all things associated with MLS) whether and to what extent the money actually helps the league and its teams, as opposed to the owners.

      • Don’t you guys realize – the MLS regular season is the real exhibition season. It’s almost completely worthless since everyone makes the playoffs. There are plenty of meaningless games so go ahead and play against Chelsea and make a lot of money of the dumb fans that pay for it. You really don’t have to start trying until playoff time.

  2. I kinda doubt Chelsea will play it’s biggest stars or if they do, not more than a 30 minute shift. They will beat NYRB either way, no knock on Red Bulls, there’s just no comparison. In better news, Philadelphia sucks, so NYRB should win that game no matter what

  3. Having mid-season friendlies tells your fans that the regular season doesn’t matter. If MLS doesn’t care about the regular season why should the fans. This is one of the reasons why MLS is a Mickey Mouse league and why their fans are suckers.

    • You guys act like MLS first teamers are going out there and busting it for 90 minutes in these friendlies.

      • Which is exactly why nobody should bother to pay to see these games. To the extent first-string players see the pitch, it’s a silly interference with games that count. But to the extent you’re right, it’s tantamount to fraud. But if the fans of the European clubs want to shell out for a glorified training session, so be it.

      • I have no interest in these games either but if die-hard Chelsea “fans” want to pay $200 to see their guys jog around for a few minutes who is RB to stop them?

  4. There is a good chance that NYRB didn’t know there were rounds this far in the USOC competition.

    • True – if the Hans Backe days are anything to go by. Back in 2011 he said he didn’t know there would be a Gold Cup. He also didn’t attend a USOC cup match in Chicago that year. That guy was such a clown, he makes Jesse Marsch look like Jose Mourinho.

  5. Before criticizing Philly too much, realize that the US Open Cup dates were announced in February, well before the Chelsea date was announced. Philly has a friendly of their own the previous weekend which was scheduled so as not to overlap with the Open Cup. So it’s not really fair to expect Philly to rearrange their schedule without some sort of compensation.

    • Exactly!! I can’t stand the fact that it makes it look like Philly are the bad guys just because the Red Bulls scheduled the Chelsea game well after the US Open Cup dates were announced. The Red Bulls wanted to change it to July 15th, but Philly had a July 14th friendly with Bournemouth already scheduled. Translation from the Red Bulls…”well, Bournemouth isn’t as important as Chelsea so you should accommodate us.”

      • I am guessing that NYRB said move the game and we will give you $$. The U actually care about USOC (because they aren’t in last) and asked for $$$.

      • That is not true. They could have played this game in late July but Philly didn’t want that unless the played the game at home. Hope the Union gets their butts kicked.

      • Last week in July is the all star game and I’m guess MLS wouldn’t want to take a chance that someone would have to miss that. Plus it’s starting to get close to the semifinals and the team coming east has the right to make reservations ahead of time.

      • No one from Philly will be playing in the All Star game. If anything the Bulls would be missing a player or two. Also the Q-final winner will be coming from the South region not the West… Either Chicago or Orlando.
        They could have played the Q-final game the week before the Semi.

  6. Why is this even a debate? RedBull is definitely going to play their best lineup against the Europeans and play their worst guys in the Open Cup match.

    Has nobody been paying attention all these years?

    Same Old RBNY

    • If you’re right then it’s a disgrace but I don’t think you are. Most of the people at the Chelsea game at Chelsea fans and wouldn’t know what a first choice RBNY lineup even is.

      • The Chelsea fans will be glad that is it a second string.
        Then they can realize true self actualization of how great a soccer fan they are, through a thrashing of a second or third string team.

        (IF you are clueless enough to think I am wrong, just realize there are hoards or Chelsea fans just chomping at the bit to tell me that Chelsea would thrash the first team too. They would have you know)

      • No the real Chelsea fans would probably just smack you in the face for saying that. Good thing you have the internet dude.

      • Oh yeah, the “real” Chelsea fans from NYC are so tough – they just go through life punching everyone in the face. Well, either that or posting vague threats on soccer web sites. Sounds like it’s a good thing you have the internet!

      • An observation about people seen wearing Euro club shirts in NYC

        La liga – usually some family connection to a spanish speaking country

        Serie A – half family connection, half Pauly D types who love EVERYTHING Italian

        Bundesliga – Family, but there’s only like five of us in the entire city

        The people wearing the English shirts are a whole different breed. Once you get past the small number of legit, British expats, you’re left with tons and tons of middle class young people who chose a winning super club. Many of them studied abroad and loved the game day experience and all that.

        I doubt they were supporting teams like Chelsea & City before the big money showed up

  7. If they can make unlimited subs in the friendly, the choice, I think, is pretty clear. Use the best team available for the Cup game, then use those same players for less than 45 minutes the next day.

    I am sure the players want to win the Cup game and that they want the chance to take the field against Chelsea stars as well.

    Again 4 days later, use those starters for 45 min against Benfica. Then they get 6 days rest before traveling to Philly to bash the Union.

    • Not sure how true this is, but I’ve been told that the CBA doesn’t allow teams to use players in consecutive days. So anyone who plays against the Union won’t be able to take the field vs. Chelsea.

      • I got it from the Philadelphia Inquirer. What’s your source?

        “The Union will play the New York Red Bulls in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal July 21 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

        Game time is 4 p.m. because Red Bull Arena is hosting the International Champions Cup on July 21-22, the two dates that the U.S. Open Cup set aside for this quarterfinal game.

        The Red Bulls are playing Chelsea on July 22, which means they will compete on consecutive days. Major League Soccer’s collective bargaining agreement does not allow players to play on consecutive days, so the Red Bulls will need two different lineups.”

  8. The right thing to do here is (1) Play a full strength side against Philly, (2) $5 all general admission tickets for a 4pm workday Cup game, (3) Allow anyone with a ticket to the PSG game to attend the Cup game at no additional charge, (4) Permit refunds for the Chelsea game where requested.

    • I agree although I don’t see 4 happening and it’s mainly Chelsea fans going to that game anyway. Tickets to the Open cup game are free to season ticket holders and I believe $10 for everyone else.

  9. Serves them right — and I say that as a proud RBNY supporter. MLS clubs choose to compound the lunacy of league scheduling (e.g., off weeks followed by weeks with more than one game; four-game differences in games played) with these stupid and demeaning in-season friendlies. If there’s a silver lining in this mess, though, it is that the situation gives RBNY a chance to show their fans exactly where their priorities lie. If they field anything less than a first-string lineup against the Union, thereby saving some players for the next day’s cash grab, they will send the strongest possible signal to their fans that money rules over legitimate competition.

    • And by the way, the Red Bulls were not “reneged” by the Union. You can renege on something, such as a commitment, but you don’t renege someone. More likely, they were rebuffed.

    • Again, this is a for profit business. Nothing wrong with playing a lucrative friendly. It’d be nice if they spent some of that money on the team but that’s another story. If they don’t blame a first-choice team, fans have reason to complain. If it’s a bunch of scrubs against Chelsea, as I expect, then it’s not really a problem. Having the game at 4pm means most people with jobs can’t go and that is a problem though. I wonder why it couldn’t have been scheduled for Thursday night?

      • This would make some sense if anyone could explain to me what happens to team revenues (whether from MLS games or these exhibitions) and who decides how they can be spent. For all we know, the owners of any particular franchise could take the gate from these friendlies and use them to furnish their luxury box.

      • Presumably revenues go into the owners pockets. Now we all know they won’t spend any of it on players but that’s RB’s fault and it doesn’t mean MLS teams shouldn’t play these friendlies. And don’t get me wrong – I have 0 interest in these games. But lots of other people do and RB charges them a lot of money. My season tickets cost about $25 a game last season and RB charged $196 for the same seat against Arsenal and the stadium was sold out.

  10. RBNY owe it to the fans to play a first choice team in the Open Cup match. How I’m going to get there by 4 PM is currently unknown to me, however. I feel like we have an opportunity to win a trophy in the USOC and I will be a wee bit displeased if this game is not top priority.

  11. I HATE mid season money grabs. Management probably won’t play their strongest team now. Same story different year.


    • Presumably they’ll play scrubs against Chelsea. No one is there to see RBNY anyway. I don’t blame teams for “money grabbing” in the least. They are businesses and eurosnobs will pay obscene prices to watch their heroes trot around for a few minutes in a friendly. It’s not like MLS is getting enormous money from TV at the moment.

      • I don’t mind the money grabs for the same reason, why not take money from guys who will pay big money for “nothing” ( my opinion ), if they don’t affect the real play.

        Unfortunately, this will. Again.

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