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USOC: Sporting KC, Union join Timbers in quarterfinals

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A quick recap of Saturday’s action in the U.S. Open Cup round of 16…

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news | Sunday’s schedule, streams ]

Sporting Kansas City 3-2 FC Dallas

The 2017 Open Cup winners survived and outlasted the 2016 winners at Children’s Mercy Park, thanks to a brace from Daniel Salloi, and a serious contender for USOC Goal of the Tournament from Yohan Croizet which came just one minute before the end of regular time.

Dallas raced ahead of a frantic, haphazard Sporting KC side after just 18 minutes when Carlos Gruezo tapped home Michael Barrios’s chipped effort over goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas; but Salloi drew Sporting level just before halftime with his first of the night, poaching a tap-in of his own off Ike Opara in the 43rd minute.

Salloi’s second came 20 minutes into the second half, moments after shifting inside from the left wing and unloading from the edge of the box. Roland Lamah made it 2-2 in the 77th minute, though, capitalizing on a scramble in the box that saw Sporting unable to boot the ball clear on multiple occasions. 12 minutes later, Croizet went a long way toward quieting a few of his critics after a rough start to his time in MLS.

Sporting will face the winner of Monday’s clash between Houston Dynamo and Minnesota United.

Philadelphia Union 2-1 New York Red Bulls

Philadelphia joined Sporting and the Portland Timbers (winners over the LA Galaxy on Friday) in the quarters with a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium.

Haris Medunjanin unleashed a rocket from distance and Cory Burke slotted past Luis Robles, in the 52nd and 61st minute, before Bradley Wright-Phillips pulled a goal back for the Red Bulls in the 77th.

Philadelphia will face the winner of D.C. United versus Orlando City SC (Wednesday) in the quarterfinals.

Elsewhere in USOC fifth round

Portland Timbers 1-0 LA Galaxy (Friday)

Remaining USOC fifth round schedule

Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United (Monday)
D.C. United vs. Orlando City SC (Wednesday)
Louisville City vs. Nashville SC (Wednesday)
Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire (Wednesday)
Los Angeles FC vs. Sacramento Republic (Wednesday)

U.S. Open Cup: RBNY thumps NYCFC; Nashville knocks Colorado out

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The New York Red Bulls have resumed residence in their derby rivals’ heads.

The Hudson River Derby was decidedly one-sided as RBNY buried NYCFC at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, moving onto the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s results ]

But first: a Cupset.

Nashville SC 2-0 Colorado Rapids

A Michael Azira own goal and Ropapa Mensah insurance marker sent Anthony Hudson’s Rapids crashing out of the Open Cup at USL competition.

New York City FC 0-4 New York Red Bulls

Woof, Mr. Vieira. This is the sort of loss that drives you to Nice.

One month and one day since the Red Bulls crushed their derby rivals 4-0 at home, they duplicated the score line.

Vincent Bezecourt scored in the second minute, Aaron Long just after halftime, and Daniel Royer twice in the final three minutes to give RBNY a four-star win.

Atlanta United 3-0 Charleston Battery

Tata’s kids didn’t have any problem with their USL visitors, as Andrew Carleton, Ezequiel Barco, and Romario Williams all scored to set up a fourth round date with Orlando City.

Columbus Crew 2-2 Chicago Fire (Chicago wins 10-9 in PKs)

An entertaining 120 minutes led to a wild, 11-round penalty kick shootout. Richard Sanchez saved Logan Ketterer’s 11th round effort after scoring his own effort, a 17th-straight conversion between the two teams.

In regulation, Nemanja Nikolic scored twice for the Fire while Cristian Martinez had a goal and assisted on Adam Jahn’s marker for Columbus.

FC Cincinnati 0-0 Minnesota United (Loons win 3-1 in PKs)

One of MLS’ new boys visited next season’s debutants, and there was little to separate the two at Nippert Stadium. Cincy hit the bar with its first effort and Bobby Shuttleworth stopped the second. Spencer Richey made a save on the Loons’ third effort to give Cincy hope, but Shuttleworth made another save to send Minnesota through.

Elsewhere
Miami United 0-3 Orlando City SC
Houston Dynamo 5-0 NTX Rayados
San Antonio FC 0-1 FC Dallas

U.S. Open Cup fourth round draw: New York Derby, Minnesota-Cincinnati

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Major League Soccer enters the fray as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup reaches its fourth round.

There are four all-MLS matches in the bunch, including another round of the Hudson River Derby between NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: Next USMNT-Mexico date set ]

Elsewhere, Portland hosts San Jose, Chicago visits Columbus, and Real Salt Lake entertains Sporting KC.

Open qualifier NTX Rayados earn a date at Houston Dynamo, while PDL side FC Golden State Force will visit the LA Galaxy.

NPSL side Miami United hosts Orlando City as an MLS side travels to visit a fourth-tier side.

The rest of the match-ups feature USL sides vs. MLS teams.

[ REPORT: FC Cincinnati to join MLS in 2019 ]

The winner of the U.S. Open Cup gets a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Full schedule (June 5-6)
New York Red Bulls vs. NYCFC
Louisville City (USL) vs. New England Revolution
DC United vs. North Carolina FC (USL)
Philadelphia Union vs. Richmond Kickers (USL)
Miami United (NPSL) vs. Orlando City SC
Atlanta United vs. Charleston Battery (USL)
Minnesota United vs. FC Cincinnati (USL)
Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire
Nashville SC (USL) vs. Colorado Rapids
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
Houston Dynamo vs. NTX Rayados (LQ)
San Antonio FC (USL) vs. FC Dallas
LA Galaxy vs. FC Golden State Force (PDL)
LAFC vs. Fresno FC (USL)
Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Sacramento Republic (USL) vs. Seattle Sounders

Injuries aren’t halting Red Bulls from proving to be MLS’ top club

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It would have been understandable if the New York Red Bulls dropped their heads in agony last month after the club’s disappointing CONCACAF Champions League defeat to eventual tournament winners Chivas de Guadalajara.

[ MORE: NYCFC’s Vieira close to signing contract with Nice ]

That wasn’t the case though, and for manager Jesse Marsch and Co., the club has been rewarded in the biggest of ways for its perseverance.

Sunday night’s 3-1 win over Atlanta United proved once again in 2018 that this season’s Red Bulls are the class of MLS for a number of reasons.

The team’s 7-3-0 start is its best in modern Red Bulls history, which dates back nine seasons to when Red Bull Arena was first opened in 2010.

Marsch and his group currently ride a four-match win streak, which includes away wins over LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids and Atlanta, with a 4-0 beatdown of rivals New York City FC bunched in the middle of the road trip.

It’s easy to look at wins and losses to determine which teams are serious MLS Cup contenders and others that will struggle throughout the season, but when diving deeper into this Red Bulls team, there are a lot of special qualities that make them different than previous years.

Heading into 2018, questions surrounded the team following Sacha Kljestan’s departure for Orlando City, as well as the club’s ability to defend with a back line that didn’t appear to have much depth.

The Kljestan question has not only been answered, but turned into Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra becoming a household MLS name and legitimate MVP and Newcomer of the Year candidate.

The Argentine (possibly turning Paraguayan) leads MLS in assists (9) through the Red Bulls first 10 matches, after Kljestan posted 17 for the club during the 2017 campaign.

Kaku is a spark plug that manages to find himself in the right positions on the field at any given moment, and his work rate perfectly matches what Marsch his instilled in the squad since the moment he first arrived.

Defensively, the Red Bulls have far exceeded expectations, conceding the fourth-fewest goals (12) in MLS, despite a host of injuries.

Jamaica international Kemar Lawrence went down with a scary injury on Sunday, leaving his immediate availability with the club unknown, while Homegrown player Kyle Duncan will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

Tyler Adams also went down with an injury against Atlanta, however, it isn’t believed to be serious.

That’s not including outside back Connor Lade, who has battled an ankle injury early in the 2018 campaign as well.

While the addition of Kaku has paid dividends in the biggest of ways in the attack though, it was the Red Bulls ability to bring in center back Tim Parker from the Vancouver Whitecaps that has really changed the team’s outlook at the back.

Parker has formed a strong bond with fellow central defensive partner Aaron Long, and the two are easily the best center back pairing in MLS through the opening two-plus months.

The bigger test for the club in the long-term will be if Lawrence does miss significant playing time, though.

That would force Marsch to rely more on Lade, who only returned from injury on Sunday to replace Lawrence, or young outside back Ethan Kutler, unless the Red Bulls manager opts to switch to a three-back system (as he has done in the past).

The Red Bulls will have to also battle through the concerns that come with the World Cup this summer, which will likely force defenders Michael Murillo and Fidel Escobar to leave the squad for their Panama national team duties.

MLS Three Things: RBNY beats Atlanta, is a special club right now

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At this point, Jesse Marsch could take the USMNT job, Tyler Adams could bolt for the Bundesliga, and we’d still have to select the New York Red Bulls to finish with a home playoff game.

[ MORE: Willian’s shot at Conte ]

That’s how well run RBNY is these days, which is to take nothing away from their coach and 19-year-old star, but considering they navigated a solid CONCACAF Champions League run en route to this start… well…. wow.

On a night when Luis Robles’ ironman streak ended, Kaku recorded two assists, and Ezequiel Barco bagged his second goal in three matches, they don’t even meet the requirements of our three things.

Form giants deliver more goals

Marsch’s men have been shutout once this season, and most multiple goals in four-consecutive wins. Three of those four wins have come on the road, at LA, Colorado, and now Atlanta.

RBNY has the best points-per-game in Major League Soccer, has scored the joint-most goals despite playing in the second-fewest games, and is allowing barely more than a goal-a-game.

Bet against ’em. We dare ya.

BWP delivers the goods

RBNY’s 33-year-old English star scored twice and won a penalty that Daniel Royer converted as he continued his assault on all future Red Bulls’ hopes of becoming the club’s leading scorer.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has almost 50 more goals than his nearest competitor, Juan Pablo Angel, and he makes headers look like child’s play.

Victory comes with a price

Kemar Lawrence was lost with a scary-looking face-plant on a clearance, and needed to be stretchered off the pitch. Hopefully it’s not long-term for the Jamaican back.