Word got around today that the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match between the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls had finally been scheduled, and like most good compromises no one seemed happy with it. Union fans were upset at Red Bulls being seemingly allowed to move the pre-scheduled match with no repercussions. Red Bull fans were upset at the Union forcing them to play less than 36 hours after a scheduled match, and everyone is upset at the prospect of having to try and watch a match at 4:00 PM on a Tuesday.
Sorry not sorry Red Bull fans. Your club screwed this up and therefore should pay the price.
RBNY has a match against Orlando City at 7:30 PM in Florida on Saturday, July 18. They then face the Philadelphia Union at 4:00 PM on Tuesday, July 21, and then Chelsea in the International Champions Cup (ICC) on Wednesday, July 22 at 7:30 PM. Major League Soccer's Collective Bargaining Agreement forbids players from playing matches 36 hours after playing in their last match, so a 4:00 PM start will put that just just 27 hours 30 minutes before their scheduled friendly.
New York has some real tough choices to make regarding roster selection. They'll be able to use players from RBNY II, however most of them are cup-tied due to them playing in the USOC already (they flamed out in the second round against the Jersey Express of the USL PDL). There are thirteen players on NYRB II that are cup tied. This puts them into a bind. Who plays on Saturday against Orlando? Do those same players then play against the Union a mere sixty-four hours later (and after two hour flight from Orlando to Newark)? If one thing is going for the Red Bulls, it's this tidbit:
@MarkFishkin You might know the answer to this: Are @MLS teams in these friendlies contractually obligated to put their stars out there?— Christopher Dwyer (@dwyercd) July 8, 2015
No, they are not. Asked & confirmed. https://t.co/CvZPTegDtR— Mark Fishkin (@MarkFishkin) July 8, 2015
That's definitely good news for them, although it's most likely going to mean running out NYRB II against Chelsea - a potential black-eye to the franchise and MLS, who love these meaningless friendlies against out-of-shape European giants as a means to attempt to prove how MLS clubs can compete with the best in the world.
One more tidbit from Mark Fishkin:
Team sources tell me RBNY went to USSoccer in Jan when approached by ICC. Flexibility on date was confirmed. Then accepted ICC offer— Mark Fishkin (@MarkFishkin) July 8, 2015
This is particularly galling, as US Soccer clearly put the importance of a cash-grab friendly ahead of a 102 year old cup tournament. As much as we call out Nick Sakiewicz and company on their bad decisions, we must praise them for standing their ground and not just acquiescing to New York's demands.