US OPEN CUP QUALIFYING PREVIEW: RED BULL v UNION

US OPEN CUP QUALIFYING PREVIEW: RED BULL v UNION

Two matches in the US Open Cup qualifying tournament for Major League Soccer teams are scheduled to take place this week.

Tuesday will see New York Red Bull host Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena. The two teams met in MLS Week 5 play on Saturday with the Red Bulls posting a 2-1 victory. The winner will host New England Revolution on May 12.

What will be different when the two teams tussle again Tuesday? For a start, there is a big difference in the approach of the two managers.

After initially saying that he would field his usual starting lineup for Hans Backe has stated that he will not field his strongest XI for the Cup-tie due to New York’s fixture congestion.

“If we win in the Cup” Backe told the New York Post “we would probably play nine games from today until June 5th, and I don’t think this squad is able to cope with that. So we would play mostly the players who haven’t been involved in the first five games.”

Peter Nowak thinks more on the lines of, well Peter Nowak. “Is there a trophy?” Nowak asked “then we’ll play the best players.” Simple as that.

Nowak won two US Open Cup Championships during his time with the Chicago Fire, a team that has won more open cups than any other MLS team.  A focus was put on silverware with the Fire, something he clearly wants to establish with the Philadelphia Union. Though his side are only a few weeks into their existence and this is their first ever Cup match, there are players on Union that do have Cup experience.  Danny Califf, Shavar Thomas and Fred have all won Cups before and Alejandro Moreno has seven career Open Cup goals.

The Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders both won the trophy in their inaugural seasons (1998 and 2009 respectively), a mark that Nowak is both aware of and feels he can take advantage of.  He knows that victories in any competition can build confidence in a fledgling side and give players a chance to play at the highest level away from the spotlight of being the new kids on the block.

Look for Philadelphia to play with a purpose on Tuesday Night and come out with their guns blazing.

For a more in-depth preview and links to audio and visual of the match, check out TheCup.us

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