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New York City's history in the US Open Cup

From the disastrous results of the early years, to the magic of New York City FC II's three (and counting) cupsets in a row, we look at every US Open Cup game played by the club.

Courtesy US Open Cup

A little more than two years ago, we ran a post in these pages titled "NYCFC are bad at the US Open Cup." That was true back then, when New York City FC had just two wins in seven games played to date, and never seemed to take the tournament too seriously.

But much has happened since the start of the 2022 competition, when the tournament returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. The club are on a tear right now, with three upset wins in a row. Of course, it's New York City FC II who are representing the organization this year: The Baby Blues were asked to stand in for the First Team after Major League Soccer decided to mostly opt out of the the US Open Cup. Now they're the last MLS NEXT Pro side left in the tournament — they'll host Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC of the USL Championship on Wednesday, May 8 in Queens.

In advance of that matchup, let's take a look back at New York City's performances over the years, and the club's evolving relationship with the oldest soccer tournament in North America.

2015-2018: You can't make me

Nobody is accusing former head coaches Jason Kreis and Patrick Vieira of throwing the US Open Cup matches that happened on their watches, but they didn't exactly try to win those games.

In 2015, when New York City faced the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League on the Long Island campus of Hofstra University, Kreis left David Villa and Thomas McNamara on the bench, and gave backup goalkeeper Eirik Johansen his only start that year. The result? Giovanni Savarese, then head coach of the Cosmos, found a way to draw even in the 90th minute thanks to a goal from the well-named Lucky Mkosa, then go on to win it in penalties.

It didn't get any better in 2016, when New York City played the Cosmos again, this time on The Bronx campus of Hofstra. In fact, it got worse with Vieira in charge. The former Invincible didn't bother to put any of New York City's Designated Players on the lineup card, never mind in the Starting XI, and a heavily rotated side lost to Savarese's Cosmos by a clean 1-0 in regulation time.

Vieira fielded a legitimate team in 2017, when New York City traveled across the Hudson River to face the New York Red Bulls in the Fourth Round of the US Open Cup. But an attack with Villa, McNamara, Jack Harrison, and Maxi Moralez was held scoreless at Red Bull Arena thanks to some witchcraft. (See below.) On the other end of the field, Daniel Royer of the Red Bulls got his shot past goalkeeper Sean Johnson. As Vieira might say, domage.

It's a safe bet that Vieira didn't have his head in the game during the 2018 US Open Cup, when New York City once again played the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. At the time, the head coach was linked with a move to Nice, and he had strenuously denied the rumors for weeks. New York City lost to the Red Bulls 0-4 on June 6. Four days later, he was on his way to the South of France, likely reclining in a l'Espace Prémiere lounger with a coupe de champagne, a tactics board, and a little Mario Balotelli magnet.

For those of you keeping score at home, that's four US Open Cup games for NYCFC through 2018, and four quick departures. New York City was held scoreless three times in those four games.

Year Home Score Away
2015 NY Cosmos 2 - 2* New York City
2016 New York City 0 - 1 NY Cosmos
2017 NY Red Bulls 1 - 0 New York City
2018 NY Red Bulls 4 - 0 New York City
2019 New York City 4 - 0 North Carolina FC
DC United 1 - 2 New York City
Orlando City 1 - 1* New York City
2022 New York City 3 - 1 Rochester NY FC
New York City 1 - 0† New England
NY Red Bulls 3 - 0 New York City
2023 FC Cincinnati 1 - 0 New York City
2024 FC Motown 0 - 3 NYCFC II
NYCFC II 4 - 2 NY Red Bulls II
Hartford Athletic 2 - 3† NYCFC II

* Penalty kicks
† After extra time

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