If there was any doubt remaining as to whether the New York Red Bulls were planning on taking the US Open Cup seriously, it was erased on Tuesday.
The Red Bulls cruised to a 3-0 victory over USL Pro club Charleston Battery in their first game of the competition at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. Kenny Cooper continued his scoring ways with a first-half finish, while Heath Pearce and rookie Connor Lade each netted their first goals for the club.
Playing with mostly starters, the Red Bulls took some time to settle into the game. Charleston found some success in getting into the attacking third, but the Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Cooper got on the end of a pass from Mehdi Ballouchy and fired home a shot.
Ballouchy was also involved in the Red Bulls’ second goal, which came seconds before halftime. The Moroccan played a quick corner low to Dax McCarty at the top of the penalty area, and McCarty lofted a ball into the six-yard box. Pearce got on the end of that, smashing a shot into the back of the net.
Lade capped the scoring in the second half, hitting a beautiful curled effort into the top right corner in the 70th minute.
Fellow Red Bulls rookie Ryan Maduro made his debut in the match, coming off the bench in the 88th minute to replace McCarty.
New York will take on USL Pro outfit Harrisburg City Islanders in the fourth round of the tournament next Tuesday, June 5.
NY: Kenny Cooper 1 (Mehdi Ballouchy 1) 14’
NY: Heath Pearce 1 (Dax McCarty 1, Mehdi Ballouchy2) 41’
NY: Connor Lade 1 (Jan Gunnar Solli 1) 70’
CHAR: Amadou Sanyang (caution) 65’
New York Red Bulls – Ryan Meara (GK), Brandon Barklage (Jonathan Borrajo 77’), Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde, Heath Pearce, Jan Gunnar Solli (Victor Palsson 74’), Dax McCarty (Ryan Maduro 88’), Mehdi Ballouchy, Connor Lade, Jhonny Arteaga, Kenny Cooper
Substitutes Not Used: Jeremy Vuolo, Tyler Ruthven, Stephen Keel
Charleston Battery – Brock Duckworth, John Wilson, Colin Falvey, Taylor Mueller (Dane Kelly 67’), Kyle Hoffer, Amadou Sanyang, Tony Donatelli (Ryan Richter 71’), Jose Cuevas, Nicki Paterson (Zach Prince 81’), Navion Boyd, Sallieu Bundu
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Wichmann, Cody Ellison, Sean Flatley, J.C. Mack
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.