John Wolyniec leads the Baby Bulls into the US Open Cup round of 16 with a brace.
New head coach Hans Backe once again went with the reserves for the US Open Cup qualifying match against the visiting Colorado Rapids last night.
And that decision certainly paid its dividends.
The Red Bulls were organized on defense and in midfield, thanks to strong performances from Sinisa Ubiparipovic, who could fight for a chance to see some playing time in MLS, and goalkeeper Greg Sutton, who kept a clean sheet for the second time in two cup matches.
Right from the onset, the "Baby Bulls" played aggressively, and tried to play balls out wide to wingers Jeremy Hall and Irving Garcia, or play centrally and over the top to the strike partnership of Conor Chinn and John Wolyniec.
The Red Bulls attacking nature finally came to fruition in the 11th minute.
Ubiparipovic dribbled through the middle of the field towards goal, and got past one defender before laying off a pass to his right to the feet of the quick Garcia.
From there Garcia fired a low pass across the face of goal, where it met the outstretched leg of John Wolyniec, and went into the back of the net to give New York a 1-0 lead.
The early goal seemed to get the Red Bulls even more confident, as the play of young rookies Toni Tchani in central midfield, Irving Garcia on the right wing, and Conor Chinn up front, improved over the course of the half.
In the 43nd minute, defensive pressure from the Red Bulls caused the Rapids to turn the ball over.
From there, Tchani took possession of the ball, muscled off two Rapid midfielders, and single-handedly raced from midfield to the penalty box before splitting two more defenders with a pass to the feet of Wolyniec.
Wolyniec took that pass in stride, and curled in a beautiful goal for his second of the game and fourth of the young season, and it gave the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead just before the half.
That goal really took the Rapids out of the game, and while they had a couple more chances after halftime, their play was lackluster at best.
In the 53rd minute, Conor Chinn put the game away with a pretty goal using the outside of his boot.
Ubiparipovic played provider again, as he dribbled through the opposing half of the field. He dished off a pass that was meant for Chinn, but deflected off of Rapid's defender Drew Moor right towards where Chinn was running.
Chinn ran onto the loose ball and finished over the oncoming keeper Ian Joyce (who is from Kinnelon, NJ, a 30 minute drive from Red Bull Arena) to make the score 3-0.
The Rapids became more and more frustrated, and defender Danny Earls tackled Ubiparipovic from behind and earned a straight red and an early shower in the 86th minute.
The play of the Red Bulls' reserves has certainly been a revelation this season, and gives coach Backe a good problem with trying to find his starting XI for MLS games.
It is good for the organization as a whole to have in form and talented players from the first to last guy in the squad.
And when Backe picks his squad for this weekend's match at the New England Revolution, don't be surprised to see Wolyniec, Tchani, and Ubiparipovic among the 18 men who travel up to Gillette Stadium.