Goalkeeper Ryan Meara hasn’t seen an MLS match since 2015. However, he has been the back upon which this New York Red Bulls team marched to the US Open Cup Final. Having tasted a championship last season with New York Red Bulls II, he knows what it means to win.
“Devastated” Red Bulls Look to Move on From Open Cup Failure
After Wednesday’s defeat to Sporting Kansas City, Meara was at a loss for words. “We’re devastated. There’s no other way to put it, we wanted to win this for our fans. We have such unbelievable supporters, you saw how many of them came to Kansas City and we just wanted to repay their support. Unfortunately, we came up a little short.”
The Red Bulls came up short in just their third finals appearance in their 22-year history. Despite taking 17 shots on a stingy Sporting KC defense, and scoring one late in the match, it simply was not enough. The lone goal scorer, forward Bradley Wright-Phillips admitted as much. “. This competition has been a bunch of late goals for us. I’m not going to lie, I thought we were going to get another one, but it just wasn’t to be, I guess,” he said.
With the quality of Sporting KC’s defense, there was very little room for error. Unfortunately, the Red Bulls arguably lost the game on two major errors and questionable bench management. Those mistakes haunted Head Coach Jesse Marsch in post game. “Obviously going down 2-0 is different than being down 1-0, but we were unlucky just to not take advantage of more situations tonight, because we created many opportunities,” said Marsch. “If you can get a goal at the beginning of the half, then everything starts to change. At 1-1, then everything would start to move in our favor.”
While the Red Bulls come away empty-handed, they resume MLS league competition on Saturday on short rest. Earlier on Wednesday evening, both Atlanta and Montreal won their matches. With their victory, New York sits just 3 points in front of Montreal, with a game in hand, for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls will have their work cut out for them if they hope to hold on above the red line.
“The outcome is obviously heartbreaking, but the performance is what I think we’ll carry with us,” said Marsch. “In the moment, there’s no consolation prize. But the confidence that this group has, the way that they played and the way that they played for each other, this will continue to make us good.”
When asked about the remaining 6 MLS matches coming up, Meara has faith that the team will have a short memory. “Yeah that’s the thing, (our upcoming games) will make us move on from this,” said Meara. “We’ve got a big game in Columbus, we know the teams around us have been winning, Montreal won tonight and Atlanta won tonight, so I guess feel sorry for ourselves tonight, get up and dust ourselves off tomorrow and start looking forward to Saturday and Wednesday with D.C. United at home. The games are coming thick and fast and we’ve got to be ready for it.”
“We’ve got a big game in Columbus, we know the teams around us have been winning, Montreal won tonight and Atlanta won tonight, so I guess feel sorry for ourselves tonight, get up and dust ourselves off tomorrow and start looking forward to Saturday and Wednesday with D.C. United at home. The games are coming thick and fast and we’ve got to be ready for it.”