Red Bulls end FC Cincinnati's dream run


 The New York Red Bulls and Bradley Wright-Phillips brought the magical run of FC Cincinnati in the Semifinals of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as the visitors rallied for a 3-2 victory after overtime in front of 33,250 fans at Nippert Stadium on Tuesday night.

Cincinnati had taken a two-goal lead with goals in either half by Corben Bone and Austin berry, which appeared to have the hosts on their way to becoming the first USL club to reach the Open Cup Final since the Charleston Battery in 2008, but goals four minutes apart by Gonzalo Veron and Wright-Phillips in the final 15 minutes pulled the Red Bulls level before New York’s leading scorer bagged the winner 11 minutes into overtime.

Wright-Phillips had almost settled the contest in the final minute of regulation as his header hit the crossbar, and carrying that momentum forward New York came out aggressively to start the first extra period. Tyler Adams fired a cross through the six-yard area from the right, only for no final touch to be applied, while Derrick Etienne Jr. fired over from 25 yards.

Wright-Phillips, though, found the mark in the 101st minute as an angled cross by Sal Zizzo found the Red Bulls’ leading scorer for his second goal of the night, his header perfectly angled into the right corner of the net.

Cincinnati almost hit back immediately. Marco Dominguez stayed on the ball as he challenged New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara eight yards out on a cross from the right, but Adams hustled back to cover the open net and block the chance behind for a corner. Kevin Schindler fired just wide from 25 yards in first-half stoppage time for the hosts, too, putting Meara at full stretch to cover the right post.

FCC continued to build momentum to start the second period of overtime, and Corben Bone sent a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the area in the 110th minute. Pressure from the hosts continued, but New York’s defense – including 2016 USL Defender of the Year Aaron Long – made timely challenges to keep FCC at bay and restrict many clear looks at goal.

Cincinnati’s Andrew Wiedeman threatened with a header in the 116th minute off a cross by Dominguez, only to send his effort high, and that proved the final chance for Cincinnati’s Cinderella story as the Red Bulls advanced to face Sporting Kansas City in the Open Cup Final on Sept. 20 at Children’s Mercy Sporting Park.

Seg Dennison

Seg Dennison

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