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New York City FC aims to oust Red Bulls, exorcise U.S. Open Cup demons

NYCFC hasn’t advanced past the first round of the tournament in any of its previous tries.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and the Blues with visit the

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and the Blues with visit the Red Bulls on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Harry How

When it comes to New York City FC getting over its past, the New York Red Bulls usually stand in the way.

The club heads to Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, on Wednesday to begin U.S. Open Cup play in the fourth round. Their last Cup campaign ended against the same Hudson River Derby rivals in the same round a year ago. They have yet to advance past the fourth round.

Last season’s result is on top of the struggles the Blues have faced in MLS action. NYCFC dropped the season’s first Derby matchup, 4-0, on the road in May and, generally, has had issues away from home this year.

This opener is sandwiched between last weekend’s MLS match, a 3-0 victory over Orlando City SC, and Saturday’s against Atlanta United FC — both at Yankee Stadium. It creates lineup conundrums for Blues head coach Patrick Vieira. He benched David Villa against Orlando and attributed the decision to different combinations of players up front. But it doesn’t hurt to have a rested striker later in the week.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored twice in Villa’s absence and would be the hot foot to go with Wednesday. However, with the top team in the Eastern Conference looming and Villa rested, playing the next highest scorer in Tajouri-Shradi before then can be a tough question.

“Of course, we want to continue this way, and it will be very difficult, but we want to continue this way and win against the Red Bulls,” Tajouri-Shradi said after the win over Orlando. “And then we’ll focus on the next game against Atlanta.”

If NYCFC wants to make club history this week, it’ll have to do it against a constant thorn in its side and, likely, with some pieces on the bench. However the Blues line up Wednesday, and whether they advance or not, their goals remain clear.

“We want to win the Open Cup and then the League,” Tajouri-Shradi said.

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