Saturday, three U.S.-based North American Soccer League (NASL) teams advanced in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup by overcoming three MLS teams, most notably Real Salt Lake and New York Red Bulls, as well as Chivas USA. NASL's New York Cosmos, Carolina Railhawks and Atlanta Silverbacks will now move onto the Fifth Round to continue their campaign to win the Open Cup title, which will qualify the Champion as one of the four U.S. representatives to the CONCACAF Champions League.
The NY Cosmos defeated the NY Red Bulls, 3-0, with two goals from forward Mads Stokkelien and another from Italian striker Alessandro Noselli for a crowd of 9,364 fans. Red Bulls defender Chris Duvall was sent off with a straight red card for a harsh tackle in the 87th minute and the Red Bulls finished with 10 men. Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer made just one save to earn the clean sheet.
“Unbelievable, 3-0 against the Red Bulls is unbelievable,” said Noselli. “I don’t know in the future, but today maybe we are the best team in New York.”
The New York Cosmos returned to the relaunched NASL in 2013 and won the 2013 North American Soccer League Fall Season, the U.S. second division championship. The Cosmos also submitted a privately-funded economic development proposal in 2013 to the State of New York to build a world-class 25,000-seat professional soccer stadium at Belmont Park.
“We believe on any given day when we’re playing our game we can compete with anybody in this country," said defender Carlos Mendes.
The Cosmos advance to the fifth round to face either the Harrisburg City Islanders or the Philadelphia Union on either June 24 or 25.
"As America is focused on the World Cup and the tremendous soccer happening in Brazil, tonight's results in the three NASL verse MLS matches show the strength and passion of the NASL clubs," said NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson. "We are very proud of the play on the pitch."
Read my exclusive interview with Commissioner Peterson about NASL's plans for player acquisition and sales on the global market and the league's split season.
NASL results at 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup - Fourth Round
3 New York Cosmos
0 New York Red Bulls
James M. Shuart Stadium; Hampstead, N.Y.
1 Carolina RailHawks
1 Chivas USA
RailHawks wins 3-2 in PKs at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
2 Atlanta Silverbacks
1 Real Salt Lake
Silverbacks Park; Atlanta, Ga.