Jesse Marsch ejected at US Open Cup, June 29, 2016

CHESTER, Pa. -- New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch wasn’t going to leave Talen Energy Stadium on Wednesday night without trying to make a point. So after getting ejected by referee Mark Kadlecik in the final minutes of his team's 2-1 US Open Cup loss to the Philadelphia Union, he picked up two balls by the fourth official’s table. He bounced the first right near the feet of Union coach Jim Curtin, and chucked the second against the wall.

Um, Coach, what exactly happened there?


“I had to try to induce change with the referee somehow because he was basically calling every foul for the Union,” a still-heated Marsch said in the post-game press conference. “Laughable.”


Of course, by then, there was hardly any time left for anything to change, as the Union continued their mastery in the Open Cup, improving to 10-2 in the tournament since 2014. The Red Bulls, meanwhile, have not beaten an MLS team in a non-qualifying Open Cup game since 2003, and have now been bounced from the tourney by the Union for the last two years.


“It was so incredibly disappointing,” Marsch said, “and another horrible way to give away a game on the road.”


Marsch has certainly placed more of an emphasis on the Open Cup since taking over as the Red Bulls coach, playing a first-choice lineup against Philly on Wednesday. And the Red Bulls responded by taking a 1-0 half-time lead on a Mike Grella goal and dominating the first half.


But the Union flipped the script in the second half to take a 2-1 lead, leading Marsch to feel frustrated with his team’s performance on top of what he felt about the refereeing.


“It was a case of mentality and not being up for the challenge in the second half, and thinking that because the first half was totally on our terms that the second half was going to be easy,” Marsch said. “I tried to inform our team that in the second half Philly was going to pick it up, that they were going to get laid into by their coach because they got their butts whipped in the first half. And then they came out and whipped our butts in the second half.


Interestingly enough, Union assistant coach Mike Sorber was also ejected from the game a couple of minutes before Marsch got the boot.


Asked about the late-game fireworks that involved his own assistant and former Chicago Fire teammate, Curtin couldn’t help but smile.


“Jesse and I are good friends from old times,” said the Philadelphia Union head coach. “But I like to beat him and he likes to beat me. We’re competitive. I think it’s the heat of the moment.


“I don’t know what happened with Mike -- I think the ball deflected off his knee and went back on the field. Jesse was upset with the referees obviously, maybe lost his temper a bit. But I’ve seen that face before in training sessions. When you’re on the other side, it still does make me smile.”