Ryan Meara on the loss: “We wanted to win this for our fans.” ( Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)
KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Perhaps goalkeeper Ryan Meara put the Red Bulls’ feelings into perspective after losing in the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup final to Sporting Kansas City Wednesday night.
“We’re devastated,” he said. “There’s no other way to put it.
“We wanted to win this for our fans. We have such unbelievable supporters, you saw how many of them came to Kansas City and we just wanted to repay their support. Unfortunately, we came up a little short. Hopefully this will just spur us on to move on to the MLS Cup.”
Even though his team fell short of its goal, head coach Jesse Marsch praised his side after losing at Children’s Mercy Park.
“There are no consolation prizes in finals, but I feel like our team played great,” he said. “I feel like our team went after the game, dictated the pace of the game in many ways, controlled many parts of it and were unlucky not to come away with more.”
Team captain and midfielder Sacha Kljestan agreed and elaborated on his feelings.
“Obviously we’re disappointed to not come away with the trophy,” he said. “I thought the effort that everybody put forward was 110 percent there. I asked the guys before the game to look across at each other during the game and to know that every other player had each other’s back and to give everything they had. I’ve never felt more like my teammates have had my back more than tonight and I feel like they gave everything they had.
“Sporting Kansas City deserved to win this one. They’re a good team and they’re tough to play at home and unfortunately we couldn’t get a second goal to tie it up.”
The Red Bulls have played in three cup finals in their 22-year history — two in the Open Cup and one in the MLS Cup — and have come up short on every occasion.
“I think that expectation will always be there,” Kljestan said. “We know about the suffering of the fans, and never having a cup of our own. We know that pressure is always going to be there, whether you play for a club that has won a bunch of titles or not, then the expectations may start to grow even more. But when you play for a club that hasn’t won, the expectations are pretty heavy.”