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RECAP: Red Bulls Eliminated From Playoffs in Epic Shootout

photo by Matt Kremkau

by Anthony J. Merced

HARRISON, N.J. - New York Red Bulls were eliminated from the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs after losing on penalties at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night to FC Cincinnati. A deadlocked 1-1 game saw a nine round penalty shootout where John Tolkin, Serge Ngoma and Andres Reyes missed their chances.

Red Bulls and Cincinnati played a physical first half with New York surrendering a majority of possession to the opposition. The game's first shot on goal game in the 25th minute when Dom Badji forced Red Bulls keeper Carlos Coronel to make a save. The best opportunity for Cincinnati came in the 38th minute when Brandon Vasquez got his head on a corner kick at close range. Coronel again made the save to keep the game scoreless.

Red Bulls took the lead in the 45th minute when a deflected effort fell to the foot of Tom Barlow who finished the chance. Going into halftime, New York had the lead and momentum despite Cincinnati getting the better of play.

The Supporters Shield winners emerged for the second half with a vengeance, pressing for the equalizing goal. A substitution to bring on Yuya Kubo only added to the pressure. Eventually Cincinnati did find the equalizer in the 75th minute when Aaron Boupendza scored with his right foot after an assist from potential MLS MVP Luciano Acosta. From there the Red Bulls looked to hang on as Cincinnati pushed for the game winner.

The away team appeared to find it in stoppage time when a corner was put into the net. However, a foul on the Red Bulls goalkeeper forced the call to be reversed, forcing the team into automatic penalty kicks to decide the game.

Red Bulls had two chances to clinch the game during the shootout. The first game in the fifth and final kick where star player Tolkin hit the post. From there the team had a second chance when winger Ngoma shot the ball over the net. Finally it was Reyes who had his effort saved to close out the game and the series.

New York will regroup this off-season after a rollercoaster ride that saw the club make the playoffs on the last kick of the regular season. While there will be a referendum on the campaign, the club did take the top team in MLS to their limit in two games. 

STARTING XI:

New York Red Bulls: Coronel; Reyes, Nealis, D. Nealis, Duncan (90' Harper), Edelman (85' Stroud), Amaya, Tolkin, Manoel, Luquinhas (90' Fernandez), Barlow (85' Ngoma)

FC Cincinnati: Celetano; Mosquera, Miazga, Murphy (90' Santos), Arias, Nwobodo (69' Kubo), Moreno, Barreal, Acosta, Vasquez, Badji (35' Boupendza)

SCORING SUMMARY:
45' (New York Red Bulls) Tom Barlow unassisted
75' (FC Cincinnati) Aaron Boupendza assisted by Luciano Acosta

DISCIPLINE:
39' (FC Cincinnati) Santiago Arias - YELLOW CARD
41' (New York Red Bulls) Tom Barlow - YELLOW CARD
55' (New York Red Bulls) Andres Reyes - YELLOW CARD
75' (FC Cincinnati) Yerson Mosquera - YELLOW CARD
78' (New York Red Bulls) Troy Lesesne - YELLOW CARD
90' (New York Red Bulls) Troy Lesesne - RED CARD
90' (FC Cincinnati) Matt Miazga - YELLOW CARD
PK (FC Cincinnati) Matt Miazga - RED CARD

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