Date: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
Time: 7:00 P.M. EDT
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium
How the Union will look: This will be the Union's fifth game in the past two weeks, so expect a bit of squad rotation. It looks like Head Coach Jim Curtin is going with John McCarthy in goal for at least the opening rounds of the Open Cup, allowing Andre Blake to rest after a hectic June. The back line never drastically changes. Maybe Ray Gaddis gets the nod at left back, but Curtin is unlikely to roll out a defensive alignment that we haven't seen. As far as midfield starters go, Chris Pontius and Warren Creavalle are safe bets after coming off the bench on Saturday. Whether Creavalle pairs with Brian Carroll or Tranquillo Barnetta - or a fresh Leo Fernandes - is anyone's guess. In-form Roland Alberg should remain in the lineup, and either Sebastien Le Toux or Walter Restrepo will likely line up on the wing opposite Pontius. With CJ Sapong still working his way back from an injury, Fabian Herbers should be in line for his fifth consecutive start.
How the Red Bulls will look: Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch put out a strong lineup in his club's last Open Cup game, and Jim Curtin is expecting that he does the same tomorrow. In the back, goalkeeper Luis Robles and center backs Gideon Baah and Aurelien Collin are locks, while Marsch has options at full back. Dax McCarty, Felipe, and Sacha Kljestan form New York's optimal central midfield, but their roles tomorrow are up in the air after all three started on Saturday. If one of the three is rested tomorrow, Homegrown Player Sean Davis may serve in their absence. Lloyd Sam and Mike Grella will likely start on the wings, though Gonzalo Veron, Shaun Wright-Phillips, and Alex Muyl have all received time there as well. 2014 MLS Golden Boot Winner Bradley Wright-Phillips is expected to lead the line.
What to expect and a prediction: Any time the Union meet the Red Bulls, it's big. Though the on-field action isn't always as heated as it is in, say, the Union's clashes with D.C. United, there is certainly animosity between the two fanbases. This is a rivalry, though some are unwilling to accept it, for some reason. It's weird.
Anyway, we'll be treated to nearly full-strength lineups from two of the best teams in the East. While some Open Cup games are prone to dragging along, this one shouldn't be. Though I think the home side will win, the Open Cup gods will require this one to go to extra time after Roland Alberg altered the Union's fate two weeks ago. Union 3-2 (a.e.t) Red Bulls