HARRISON, N.J. — The names were different, but the result was very much the same.
For the second time in a little more than a month, the New York Red Bulls blasted New York City FC, 4-0, at Red Bull Arena. This performance came in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and it was with some of the club’s biggest stars not on the field.
Stepping in for Kaku, who scored two minutes into the league win in May was Vincent Bezecourt, who struck in the same minute on Wednesday night. Kaku was one of five players on international duty for the Red Bulls, who were also able to rest star forward Bradley Wright-Phillips in the lopsided victory.
“I think that was my second touch on the game. Really happy,” Bezecourt said. “It’s my first pro goal with the first team so I’m really happy with that. Real happy with the performance. I think we struggle after the first goal, but we came out in the second half flying. And 4-0 again at home is perfect.”
NYCFC did well after conceding early in possession and nearly leveled in the 37th minute, but Ryan Meara dived to his right to deny Jonathan Lewis and Hassan Ndam cleared the rebound David Villa chipped over the goalkeeper off the line.
“David Villa is a little selfish, he should pass to [Tommy] McNamara, but he tried to cheapen Ryan Meara,” Ndam said. “So I saw it and then my long legs helped me a little bit and I cleared the ball in the line and there wasn’t a goal.”
After regrouping in the locker room at halftime, the Red Bulls again cashed in early in a half, doubling their lead just seven minutes after the break when Aaron Long latched onto a Marc Rzatkowski corner kick and put a downward header inside the far post.
Long, who partnered with Ndam, in central defense, then helped shut down NYCFC’s lethal attack with Villa putting just one of his three shots on frame and subbing out of the match in the 57th minute.
“From minute one we imposed our will on them again,” Long said. “It’s really good that Vincent us an early goal. That’s big-time from him. I thought there were a lot of good performances all around the field today. … Everyone that stepped on the field won their battles.”
Danny Royer closed the game out with a pair of goals in the final three minutes to put the finishing touches on a comprehensive victory in a tournament that is vitally important to the Red Bulls after falling to Sporting Kansas City in last year’s final.
“It’s just a chance to win a trophy. That’s what we’re striving for at this club and we’ve come up short too many times,” Meara said. “It’s just another big opportunity to win something. I think being so close last year and almost being able to taste it and losing on that night in Kansas City, that sticks with us. It’s another opportunity and we’re going to put our best foot forward.”