|photo by Matt Kremkau
New York Red Bulls scored two goals in the first half and rode their defense to a 2-1 win over Hartford Athletic on Wednesday night in the third round of the US Open Cup. Goals from Lewis Morgan and Aaron Long capped a first team effort that shows just how serious the team is taking this competition, something that has been a question in previous campaigns.
"I think, especially in the first half, we can see a big difference between an MLS team like us and Hartford," said head coach Gerhard Struber. "We created a lot of chances and also we created two goals. I think we dominated the first half very clearly."
The game became worrisome in the second half when Hartford managed to pull a goal back in the 51st minute. From there the home team were the aggressors with New York falling into a defensive shell. Through a combination of smart play and borderline dirty fouls, Hartford was able to bend the Red Bulls defense but couldn't break them.
"We know that these cup games are going to come down to a lot of one goal games," said captain Aaron Long. "We knew that coming into the second half and they made it tough on us. But we were good to be resilient and to get the result."
Who New York will play in the next round remains to be seen. However the lineup and result shows that this competition is a priority. New York has made the final twice in their history, most recently in 2017 where they lost to Sporting KC 2-1.