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Editorial: Red Bulls and MLS Send the Kids to Compete

By Daniel Feuerstein

Today is a sad day for all New York Red Bulls fans. From Michael Batista who covers New York City Soccer, has informed us that the club will not be sending their first division side to the US Open Cup as their Next Pro Third Division Side will take their place. This decision by the Red Bulls is sad and disheartening, as they won't put out their top players on the pitch to start the third round of the 2024 US Open Cup.

When this club started as the MetroStars, they were involved in every single season from 1997 competing against the clubs from the lower levels to MLS to attempt to win the National Championship of American Soccer. They have made runs and sadly have been beaten by the minnows in this single elimination cup competition. Many of us have informed friends who aren't soccer fans that this mirrors the NCAA Final Four tournament every year.

There were seasons when this club had to go through Open Cup qualifying to reach the round to enter, but ended when US Soccer's Open Cup Committee designated all American clubs in MLS must enter the Open Cup and the Red Bulls haven't backed out since. They have made two finals appearances, hosting the 2003 final at Giants Stadium, and traveling for the 2017 final at Children's Mercy Park. We have seen high moments and low moments with this club in the Open Cup and we have celebrated or saddened every time we watched them perform.

The biggest question is why all of a sudden the Red Bulls front office has accepted this ruling? Their club at RB Leipzig always battles for the DFB Pokal Cup every season, and their club at Red Bull Salzberg always battles for the Austrian FA Cup. I'm sure Red Bull Bragatino battles for Brazil's federation championship, why all of a sudden now they don't want to allow their first-team players to get involved this year? 

The real possibility has been the front office and the owners of the clubs at Major League Soccer Headquarters in Manhattan. Because of a certain Argentine world footballing superstar that has arrived in Miami and of course their precious plastic Leagues Cup. MLS didn't run the Open Cup anymore when they had US Soccer under their mighty Soccer United Marketing umbrella. The Federation broke away to build their own business ventures and signed broadcast deals with Turner Sports for their Men's and Women's National Teams, and CBS Sports hopped on the Open Cup train to produce brilliant matches and the final last year.

We had great players like Youri Djorkaeff, Amado Guevara, Clint Mathis, Tim Howard, Tab Ramos, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Lloyd Sam, Mike Grella, Sacha Kljesten, Lewis Morgan, Luquinhas, and many others battling for the right to become the National Champions of American Soccer and the dream of qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions Cup, now that spot is in jeopardy. So this means the kids at MLS Next Pro will be the ones to carry the torch for this edition. While we should support the two team of MLS Next Pro to make a run, it's a shame that Emil Forsberg, Dante Vanzeir, Elias Manoel, Daniel Edelman, Sean Nealis, and Carlos Coronel won't be performing in the Open Cup this season for no reason.

But it's a bigger shame that Clark & Dan Hunt who own FC Dallas aren't fighting hard enough to make sure all MLS Owners and the front office play all twenty-six American clubs in the Open Cup as their father Lamar Hunt who is in the National Soccer Hall of Fame, got his name dedicated to the tournament as he dedicated himself to the sport of soccer here in the United States. This cup competition is now tarnished and going backwards.


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