In a massive upset, Crystal Palace FC USA outplayed the New York Red Bulls in Annapolis tonight in front of 1,654 delighted spectators. Goals from local boy, Andrew Marshall, in the 18th minute and Jamaican striker, Gary Brooks, on 75 were enough to see the Baltimore side progress to the final eight of the 2008 US Open Cup. The result was all the more remarkable considering that Palace played a man down for almost an hour, after captain Ibrahim Kante was sent off in the 34th minute.
New York maintained most of the early possession, but their lack of creativity in the final third combined with the well-organised Palace back line of Marshall, Kante, Harada and Robson kept ‘keeper Matt Nelson untroubled. On 13 minutes though, Mike Magee had the first hint of a chance, shooting over from the edge of the box.
Pat Healey celebrates Marshall’s goalPalace were patiently waiting for the opportunity to counter-attack and on 17 minutes, Gary Brooks looked like he would latch on to a through-ball into the box but Red Bulls’ captain Kevin Goldthwaite slid in for a brave clearance to give Palace their first corner of the match. Bryan Harkin stepped up and sent a perfectly flighted ball to the near post where right-back Andrew Marshall leapt high above the white shirts around him to head Palace into a shock 1-0 lead.
In the 24th minute, Crystal Palace gifted the Red Bulls a golden opportunity to get right back into the game. Matt Nelson handled a back-pass to set up an indirect free-kick just 7 yards from goal. With the entire Palace side standing along the goal-line, the ReLarry Markd Bulls pushed the ball towards the middle of the box but the ensuing shot cannoned off Shintaro Harada and over the goal. Borman’s corner found Jeff Parke unmarked in a great position, but fortunately for Palace his header was poor and flew well wide.
The referee was the center of attention for several minutes around the half hour, as several Palace players received yellow cards after a series of hard tackles provoked strong reactions from players on both teams. New Yorks’s Mike Magee and Palace’s Harkin, Brooks and Kante all went in the referee’s book. New York were then handed a man advantage when on 34 minutes, Palace centre-back Kante was shown a straight red card for a tackle on lone New York striker, Chris Megaloudis.
The sending off didn’t seem to have much impact on the game as the Red Bulls continued to struggle to create anything meaningful offensively. Just as normal time was running out in the first half though, New York tested Matt Nelson prPaul Robsonoperly for the first time in the match. The Palace goalie ended up making a nice diving save on a well-struck volley from Megaloudis.
In the middle of stoppage time it seemed for a moment as if Palace had doubled their lead when Pat Healey found himself alone in front of goal after a bicycle kick attempt by Gary Brooks turned from shot into pass. Healey took his finish well and the crowd began to celebrate, but the assistant referee’s flag was up for offside.
Red Bulls’ coach Juan Carlos Osorio made three changes to his side to start the second half, changing his formation from a lone forward to three up top. But New York still couldn’t get past the Baltimore defense and it was Palace who created the first chance of the second period. Matthew Mbuta Gary Brooksshowed off his ball-control skills stinging shot from 18 yards out, forcing Thornton to pull off a good diving save.
On 63 minutes, Matt Nelson had to be alert as Mike Magee’s powerful 35-yard free-kick cleared the wall, but the Palace net-minder held on to the ball as it looked set to dip just under the crossbar. New York were enjoying their strongest period of the match and in the 67th minute, they earned a corner which Goldthwaite headed towards goal, but Palace’s Larry Mark was guarding the left post and cleared the ball off the line. Goldthwaite was lucky to escape the referee’s wrath four minutes later when, after another New York corner was grabbed well by Nelson, he left Nelson needing a visit from the trainer after a late collision.
Cameroonian playmaker Matthew Mbuta was causing problems for the Red Bulls back line every time he had the ball at his feet and in the 74th minute, he made a jinking run past three defenders down the left channel before firing a long-range missile of a shot which clattered against the crossbar. A minute later, English left back Paul Robson took a knock down from Matthew Mbuta near the left touchline, crossed low for Gary Brooks in space just inside the box. The Jamaican volleyed the ball superbly, beating Thornton diving to his left and sending the home supporters into a frenzy that reached its crescendo as he ran to the stands to celebrate with them.
Palace almost put the icing on the cake with regulation time running out when Larry Mark’s shot was saved nicely by Thornton and the rebound fell to a wide-open Val Teixeira, but he somehow hooked the ball wide right with his left-footed attempt. As stoppage time was getting underway, Matthew Mbuta dummied his marker on the right corner of the box but his left-footed effort ricocheted off the left post.
Medd and CherneskiA late red-card for the Red Bulls’ Mike Magee leveled the numbers on the field but Palace didn’t need any more help at that point. The fans were delirious as the final whistle blew while the Palace players were somewhat subdued, shocked perhaps at the ease of their victory over a club two tiers above them in the realm of American professional soccer.
Both Medd – who had been obliged to watch the proceeding from the stands due to his dismissal from the bench at Harrisburg in the previous round – and Cherneski had ice-filled water pitchers dumped over their backs by their players, but they didn’t seem to mind one bit.
Marshall and Mbuta celebratePalace now move on to the quarter-finals where they’ll meet the reigning champion New England Revolution at Veterans Stadium in New Britain, Connecticut on Tuesday July 8th at 7:00pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance here for $13 (or $10 for a group of 20+) If tickets are still available on gameday, admission at the gate will be $18.
You can find links to press reports of Palace’s historic victory in our Coverage page.
Crystal Palace Line-Up: Matt Nelson, Andrew Marshall, Ibrahim Kante, Shintaro Harada, Paul Robson, Dan Lader, Bryan Harkin (Mike Lookingland 60), Larry Mark (Sergio Flores 88), Pat Healey, Matthew Mbuta, Gary Brooks (Val Teixeira 79)
Substitutes not used: David Feazell, Cecil Lewis, Carlos Morales, Brian Rowland
New York Line-Up: Zach Thornton, Chris Leitch (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 46), Kevin Goldthwaite, Carlos Mendes, Jeff Parke, John Gilkerson (Andrew Boyens 46), Luke Sassano, Gordon Kljestan (John Wolyniec 46), Mike Magee, Danleigh Borman (David Roth 63), Chris Megaloudis,
Substitutes Not Used: Hunter Freeman, Caleb Patterson-Sewell, Ricky Schramm
Referees: Andrew Chapin, Bryan Roland, Rod Harnage, Jim Sadowsi