USOC matchup looms large for Red Bulls reserves

Teddy Schneider (right)

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With a dejecting 1-0 home loss to D.C. United on Saturday night now in the rearview mirror, the New York Red Bulls will look for an ideal bounce back in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup against the Chicago Fire on Tuesday.

And the match is an opportunity for the Red Bulls’ younger players to make a statement at Toyota Park.

“I think all the younger guys, all the guys who haven’t played as much this year, are looking forward to it,” left back Teddy Schneider told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s something we all want to be a part of and are looking forward to. Hopefully we come away from there with the win.”

Schneider made his professional debut two weeks ago, starting at left back in the 2-1 Open Cup win over FC New York. He showed well along the left side with good, solid positioning and made some smart runs off the ball.

Schneider admitted to some nerves before his first-ever game of significance for the Red Bulls.

“I was a little nervous before the game, for sure,” Schneider said. “But then I settled down when the game started and it was just about playing the game. I don’t think I will be as nervous for this game.”

But the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup are still s a big deal for Schneider and his teammates, and he says he is just “excited to be a part of something this big” with the club.

With three wins, the Red Bulls would win the tournament and book an automatic berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, a nice accomplishment and the first significant silverware for the franchise.

Head coach Hans Backe said after Saturday’s loss that the Fire game will feature largely reserve players, which means that Schneider will be called on to play a large role if the team is to progress.

Monday in training at Montclair State University, the squad worked on the game plan and formation for the match in Chicago.

“We’ve spent a lot of time today working on our shape, on how we will defend,” Schneider said. “Chicago is a fast team, they will use their pace to try and get behind us. We need to be aware of that so we can come out of this with a win and get into the semifinals.”

Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer