Luis Robles: “On Wednesday it’s another opportunity for us to not only show the league, but ourselves that everything we preach and everything that we’re working for each and every day can come to fruition.” (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
HARRISON, N.J. — On Wednesday, the Red Bulls will vie for the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup title against Sporting Kansas City in Kansas City, Kansas.
After the Red Bulls’ scoreless draw with the Philadelphia Union Sunday, Sacha Kljestan, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Luis Robles talked about on what winning would mean for the team or themselves.
Sacha Kljestan, captain and midfielder
To me, personally, it would be a great sense of accomplishment. I came here with the ultimate goal to help this club win its first MLS cup but, secondary, to help this club win its first U.S. Open Cup. I’m glad that we’ve taken this tournament seriously in the past few years, and we’ve gathered experience from that. For the club, at first, I joined this club and said ‘yeah, I understand the fans that have been here since the beginning and they’ve never lifted a trophy.’ But, now that I’ve been here for two and a half years and I’ve gotten to know some of these fans and I’ve gotten to know the people that work for this club, that have gone this long without winning the U.S. Open Cup or the MLS Cup, I fully understand it. It would mean a lot to us.
Bradley Wright-Phillips, striker
It’s everything. That’s why we’re in this business. Take away money, everything else; everyone wants to lift a trophy. That proves you’re a good team, and that proves…you put your name in history. For everyone involved in the club, that’ll be massive. To not have won a big trophy yet, this is a great opportunity for us.
(Surprising they haven’t won, considering they’re a massive club):
Yeah, and the players that’ve been here. But it just shows you how hard it is to win trophies. It doesn’t matter about who plays here; you have to have everyone on the same page, and headed in the right direction. Hopefully this is the squad that can do that.
(Difference between Shield and Cup?)
Well, over here the Shield means nothing. I don’t know how, but it means nothing, so it’s very different. I guess we’ll see on Wednesday how big of a difference it is if we manage to win. Over here you get no credit for the Shield so I guess we need a trophy, right?
Luis Robles, goalkeeper
The Supporters Shield aside, when the group of us showed up here in 2012 and even a little bit before that, this organization hadn’t won anything and if anything at times, constantly got mocked because they’re one of the original clubs and they’re the ones that spend so much money and yet they’re not able to have anything to show for it. So it’s a point of pride for us not only to win that first piece of silverware, but to continue to add silverware to the closet, and Wednesday is an opportunity for us to add something that we haven’t added before. It allows us to continue to stake a step forward as an organization. Because it’s one thing to say yes, we want to be one of the best organizations in the league and you can do that with facilities, you can do that with leadership, you can do that with the money that you spend on the roster. But ultimately, it’s always going to come down to silverware and what you’re winning. And for the longest time, this organization didn’t have that and yet that’s slowly changed. I think that change came across with a few different things. A change in the leadership, the top Marc de Grandpre did a great job of focusing this organization and trying to be one of the top organizations. And of course, just the players. There’s a lot of pride in this locker room and what we’re able to do and what we’re able to accomplish as a group. On Wednesday it’s another opportunity for us to not only show the league, but ourselves that everything we preach and everything that we’re working for each and every day can come to fruition.