By MIKE NASTRI
FC New York gave the New York Red Bulls a scare, going up 1-0 in the second half, but the Red Bulls were up to task scoring two quick goals to advance in the U.S. Open Cup.
After being largely invisble in the first half, Corey Hertzog and John Rooney both responded with second half goals to secure a spot in the quarterfinals against the Chicago Fire.
Hertzog equalized in the 59th minute and Rooney followed with the game winner just seven minutes later. Tim Ream played a long ball on the ground to Rooney. The younger Rooney brother juked an FC New York defender and ripped a low laser beating an outstretched Steve Diaz.
"Tim played me the ball and there was no one behind me," said Rooney. "I turned and I was on the edge of the box. I just tried to get my shot off and lucky for me it went into the bottom corner."
Rooney added: "The main thing was obviously to get the win. To get on the score sheet is just an added bonus and to score the winning goal makes it that much better."
Hertzog equalized just three minutes after FC New York took the first lead of the match. Juan Agudelo, fresh off his Gold Cup campaign, headed down a failed clearance by the USL Pro expansion team to Hertzog. Hertzog took a couple of touches on the right side of the box and ripped the game tying goal past Diaz.
"Corey had a great finish," said Austin Da Luz. "It was kind of a half chance, but he's a good goal scorer and those are the types of goals that he scores."
"It's disappointing because we kind of give up goals after every time we score," added former Red Bulls Academy product and FC New York midfielder Qwame Holder. "We give up easy goals when we have a chance to hold the lead."
FC New York opened the scoring in the 56th minute with a long range blast from second half sub Owen Morrison that beat Red Bull keeper Greg Sutton. It was the first shot on goal in the match for FC New York and Morrison made the most of it.
"He [Morrison] came in and did well for them," said Ream. "He took a touch and lined one up. Sometimes you can't do anything about that."
Ream added: "I was expecting a shot, but I wasn't expecting the shot to be as well taken as it was.
The first half was dominated by Austin Da Luz and the rest of the Red Bull midfield, but the team lacked the killer ball to create a real quality scoring chance. The second half was a different story as the Red Bulls played the ball with more authority and took advantage of any open space.
"We had a few chances in the first half, some good possesion," said midfielder Austin Da Luz. "We didn't get those clear cut chances in the first half and in the second half we did good job of taking those when they came."
The win advances the Red Bulls into the quarters of the U.S. Open Cup for the first time since 2006. They'll face off against the Fire in Chicago on July 12th. The Fire beat the 1999 U.S. Open Cup Champion Rochester Rhinos 1-0 in their round of 16 match.
"It's going to be a tough game," said Da Luz. "I've spoken to a couple of guys on their team [Chicago Fire] and I know they're taking the U.S. Open Cup very seriously. They're probably going to use quite a few first team guys. So, it will be a great challenge for us to test ourselves against some of the better players in the league."
The Red Bulls, on the other hand, will most likely stick with a reserve squad as July is busy month for New York. They play nine games in the month, including back-to-back matches in London for the Emirates Cup.
"It will be the same team," said head coach Hans Backe. "I just hope that we have 11 starters on July 12th, because July is a killer for us."
Backe added: "If we hadn't had this schedule, then definitely I think we could have a priority to win the Cup. But with the schedule as it is now, we can't do it."
What did you think of the young Red Bulls? Impressed by Rooney, Da Luz or Hertzog? Do you think the Red Bull reserves can beat a Chicago first team?