U.S. Open Cup Second Round: 901 FC vs. NYRB U-23

By: Caleb Hilliard 

The 901 FC face a difficult mid-week challenge in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

They play New York Red Bulls U-23, which is an academy team, at AutoZone Park. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15.

The match is the 901 FC’s first regular season match outside of the USL Championship in their history. The tournament is a chance for Memphis to make a run and increase their nationwide exposure.

What to watch for: New York Red Bulls U-23

NYRB U-23 are yet to begin USL League Two season play, but already have a win under their belt. They knocked off NPSL-side FC Motown on penalty kicks last week, in the first round of the cup.

The Red Bulls and Motown FC played out a thrilling 4-4 match through regular time and the Red Bulls progressed 5-3 on PKs.

JP Marin and Brian Saramago combined for two goals and two assists. Jeciel Cedeno and Omar Sowe also added to the score line.

Saramago is the team’s impact player, based off of the 2018 season.

The forward applies his trade for the Loyola Greyhounds in the NCAA. Since 2016, Saramago has 18 goals through 27 matches at Loyola.

He joined the New York Red Bulls Academy in 2014, where he played for the U-15/16 team and scored 31 goals.

In the 2018 PDL season, Saramago scored 11 goals in 12 matches for the U-23 team.

He is an obvious scoring threat and the Memphis defense will need to mark him thoroughly.

What to watch for: Memphis 901 FC

The U.S. Open Cup provides Tim Mulqueen with the opportunity of using a few players that would not normally see as much playing time in the USL Championship.

Up to this point, it is unknown which players will be on the pitch. The U.S. Open Cup is a long and gritty competition. He may stick with his best XI and put emphasis on the tournament throughout the summer.

The team’s pass-heavy tactics should remain the same no matter who is in the starting XI. Memphis has 4,716 pass attempts, the third most in the USL Championship.

Their offensive style relies on the central forwards and striker Elliot Collier is starting to show good form.

Collier had a slow start to the season, but he has been threating in the air recently. Through nine matches Collier has two goals.

Goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell may get a night off for the cup match but if he does play, we know he will be consistent.

Early in the season Caldwell kept Memphis in a few matches and is proving to be one of the best players on the roster. Caldwell has 18 saves through 10 appearances.

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