Daniel Royer (right), who scored the lone goal of the match, and Alex Callens battle for the ball (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
By Christian Arnold
HARRISON, N.J. — The Red Bulls came out of halftime looking to find the go-ahead goal, and they did just that.
After allowing rival NYCFC to keep pace in the first half, the Red Bulls came out on the offensive and ended the 90 minute contest with a 1-0 win over NYCFC in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup.
It was Daniel Royer’s goal in the 67th minute that broke a scoreless tie at Red Bull Arena.
After failing to convert on several earlier chances, including a Bradley Wright-Phillips shot that went sailing over the net, the home side finally found the back of the net. Wright-Phillips drew NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson out of the net and had his initial shot blocked.
Royer was able to park himself under the rebound and fire it home to give the Red Bulls the game’s lone goal.
The Red Bulls win was the first time they have defeated NYCFC in the Open Cup tournament, and they are now 6-1 all-time against their rivals from the Bronx. Before Wednesday neither side had faced one another in the 104-year-old tournament, but each club has faced second-division side Cosmos in previous years.
NYCFC, which began play in 2015, has yet to win a game in the U.S. Open Cup.
Both sides traded chances in the first 45 minutes of the Open Cup match. The best opportunity for either club came in the 16th minute after Thomas McNamara took a pass inside the box and drew Red Bulls keeper Ryan Meara out of the net.
McNamara’s shot clanked straight down off the crossbar and back off of it for a second time before it was cleared off the line by a Red Bulls defender.
Three minutes later Alex Muyl had chance to put the Red Bulls ahead. A NYCFC defender blocked his initial shot and Muyl’s follow up chance sailed over the net.
Later on in the half David Villa had a slow rolling shot get by Meara, but hit the post and go right back to Meara. In the 43rd minute Sean Johnson made a diving save on a shot from Bradley Wright-Phillips inside the box.
Wednesday’s win for the Red Bulls came without head coach Jesse Marsch on the sideline. Marsch was banned from the US Open Cup match due to an ejection in last year’s tournament.
Assistant coach Chris Armas of Brentwood, N.Y. was in control of the bench in Marsch’s absence.
Marsch will be back on the sideline against the Philadelphia Union Sunday and when the Red Bulls host NYCFC again June 24 in MLS play. While Wednesday game was played in a less than full Red Bull Arena there was plenty of energy on and off the field.