Second to None; 2017 US Open Cup Recap (Red Bulls-Union)

Robert Cole/ALOST

HARRISON, NJ — Though Ryan Meara only gets a couple of chances per season to prove he’s a top-of-the-line goalkeeper in Major League Soccer, he continues to make the best out of his limited chances in the starting 11.

Meara’s latest bit of heroics came during tonight’s penalty shootout, where his save helped lift the New York Red Bulls to victory in the Round of 16 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, defeating the Philadelphia Union 5-3 on penalties after the teams finished 1-1 after 120 minutes. New York advances to the quarterfinals of the competition where they will play in Cambridge, Mass. against the New England Revolution.

Only making his second appearance of the season, Meara came through when the pressure was at its highest in the contest: a penalty shootout against the team that had eliminated the Red Bulls from the U.S. Open Cup two seasons running. After both teams scored on each of its first two PKs and the Red Bulls’ Daniel Royer converted on the team’s third PK, Meara went to his right to save Fafa Picault’s, which went off of Meara and the post. Sacha Kljestan and Felipe converted the Red Bulls’ last two penalties to secure the victory.

“I was kind of confident once we got to penalties that we’d be alright,” said Meara in the locker room afterward. “I’ve seen our guys take plenty of penalties in practice, and they’re usually pretty clinical. And I was always confident that I was going to be able to make one save, too. Fortunately, it worked out that way.”

Meara also made a key save on Picault in regulation, as the latter was through on goal on a breakaway after defenders Aaron Long and Aurelien Collin collided with each other. Picault went low to Meara’s left, but Meara made the save and also deflected teammate Damiel Perrinelle’s header towards the goal over the bar.

“I said to the group before the PKs that we should go in with concentration and focus and know that we’ve got a champion in net for penalties, an absolute champion,” said Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch, coaching his first U.S. Open Cup game after being sent off in last season’s loss to the Union in the competition, resulting in a one-match ban. “Listen, we see he’s good on penalties in training, too. It’s not random. I think Ryan had a lot of confidence and knew that it was about making one save. Makes it by the hair of his chin. But yeah, I mean, going into it, we knew we had a good goalkeeper in goal. Not just that, but you have to also tip your hat to the saves he made in overtime specifically.

“I mean, it’s not easy for Ryan because he plays behind a great goalkeeper, a guy that plays every night, that’s prepared, and physically always ready, mentally ready. Luis is a stud. But Ryan is a stud, too. He comes to work every day and has a great work ethic, is so committed to the team, never complains, does everything and more that could be asked of him. I’m really, really happy for him. Really happy.”

Facebook Comments Box

Leave a Response