Bradley Wright-Phillips hit a brace to lead a heroic three-goal fightback and the New York Red Bulls advanced to their first U.S. Open Cup Final since 2003 with a 3-2 win extra-time semifinal victory over FC Cincinnati on Tuesday night.
To win their first ever USOC title, the Red Bulls will have to pull off more road magic in the final against Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park on Sept. 20.
Substitute Gonzalo Veron began the comeback with an opportunistic 75th-minute goal to cut New York's deficit to 2-1. Wright-Phillips then went to work in the air, leveling off Tyler Adams' cross in the 78th minute before sending his looping header off Sal Zizzo's cross inside goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt's far post 11 minutes into extra time.
Only moment's after Wright-Phillips' second, Adams made a game-saving block of Marco Dominguez on the goal line after the FCC substitute had gotten around Red Bulls 'keeper Ryan Meara.
Corben Bone put Cincinnati ahead in the 31st minute and Austin Berry doubled the lead with a header off a corner kick in the 62nd before a raucous crowd of 33,250 at Nippert Stadium. But the goals from the pair of former Chicago Fire men weren't enough to make Cincy just the fourth lower-division side to reach the US Open Cup Final since MLS teams began competing in 1996.
- 31' – CIN – Corben Bone Watch
- 62' – CIN – Austin Berry Watch
- 75' – NY – Gonzalo Veron Watch
- 78' – NY – Bradley Wright-Phillips Watch
- 101' – NY – Bradley Wright-Phillips Watch
- HE’S HEATING UP: Wright-Phillips didn’t exactly have the worst first half of the MLS season, but his eight goals through 17 league matches were slightly off the incredibly lofty standards the two-time MLS Golden Boot winner had set for himself. Well, don’t look now but BWP is as hot as he’s ever been, scoring eight goals in his last seven matches in all competitions, and five in his last three.
- MAGIC OF THE CUP: Most of the sentimental appeal of cup competitions the world over comes from underdog stories like Cincinnati’s, but the improbability of the Red Bulls’ turnaround on Tuesday should not be discounted. It’s been nearly two full years since New York last came back to win from a two-goal deficit in league play, on Sept. 11 of 2015 against Chicago. They've never done it on the road in MLS, making their feat in one of the nation's most electric atmospheres even more impressive.
NYRB players are out here applauding the Cincinnati supporters pic.twitter.com/bSo1xnbeY1— Andrew King (@AndrewKingMLS) August 16, 2017
- THE STREAK IS OVER: Hildebrandt went 585 minutes before allowing his first goal in the 2017 Open Cup when Veron Poked in the Red Bulls’ first. That was the first goal scored against Cincinnati in the competition in more than 14 months, since the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Georgi Greorgiev Hristov scored in the 11th minute of FCC’s 1-0 defeat in the 2016 third round.
They Said It
- CIN: Saturday, Aug. 19 at New York Red Bulls II, USL regular season (4 pm ET)
- NY: Friday, Aug. 18 at Portland Timbers (10 pm ET | FS1, MLS LIVE in Canada)