Richmond Kickers at Sporting Kansas City
LiveStrong Sporting Park – Kansas City, Kan.
July 12 – 8:30 p.m. ET
Founded in 1993, the club is one of two USL teams (the other being the Rochester Rhinos) to win the US Open Cup in the professional era (1995). An amateur team through 1995, the club played in USL’s top flight from 1996-2005 before joining the professional third division. It has only missed the postseason one time since 1994, winning the league title three times (1995 in USL PDL, 2006 and 2009in USL-2/USL Pro) in eight appearances.
First Round: Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) 1:4 Richmond Kickers (USL Pro)
The Kickers were well on their way to a First Round victory Tuesday against league foe Dayton with two goals from David Bulow in the first 17 minutes. The Dutch Lions answered back in the second half, but Bulow added a third from the penalty spot and Shaka Bangura finished the match in the 90th for the 4-1 win. Recap [+]
Second Round: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL Pro) 1:4 Richmond Kickers (USL Pro)
For the second consecutive round, it was the same story as Bulow and the Kickers dominated a fellow USL Pro club. Bulow tallied 17 minutes in, with Pittsburgh equalizing in the 30th. Bulow restored the lead four minutes before halftime and Matthew Delicate scored two in the second half to put the match out of reach. The Riverhounds had rallied from two down in the first round, but couldn’t generate the same magic in the second. Recap [+]
Third Round: Richmond Kickers (USL Pro) 2:1 Columbus Crew (MLS)
The Kickers defeated an MLS club on the road in the US Open Cup for the first time. Former Crew player Stanley Nyazamba set up the opener by sending the ball to the top of the box, where Nozomi Hiroyama sent a bending ball into the back of the net. Columbus rookie Justin Meram helped level the score in the 37th minute when he broke into the box and found fellow rookie Cole Grossman at the far post for his first professional goal. The 67th minute proved to be an important turning poin,t as the Crew dodged a bullet when a Matthew Delicate header hit the post and was cleared by the Columbus defense. Moments later though, Danny O’Rourke was sent off after he retaliated on some physical play. Five minutes from time, Delicate would find the winner against the shorthanded Crew on a diving header. Recap [+]
- Path to Open Cup: Automatic entrant from USL Pro.
This Month in USL Pro: [W-L-W-L] Richmond’s rough midseason stretch was compounded with a congested two-week league campaign that has seen them play four times. They opened the month with a 2-1 loss July 1 in Rochester with their only tally coming courtesy of a Rhinos own goal. They returned home for a Fourth of July celebration, rallying from an early Dayton penalty to top the Dutch Lions 3-1. David Bulow set up Ryan Heins for the equalizer and notched the winner himself from the spot before Edson Elcock secured the win. The Kickers then played a home-away series against Charlotte, falling to the Eagles in Richmond 2-1 on a stormy night July 8 despite Yomby William scoring the opener. The next night in Charlotte Luke Vervollone and Elcock broke a scoreless deadlock in the second half en route to a 2-1 road win.
Open Cup History: The Kickers have the distinction of being the first club to win the tournament during the professional era, taking the title in 1995 when pro clubs began participating despite themselves being in the amateur USISL Premier (now the PDL), where they also won the league title. Richmond won the Open Cup in penalties after a 1-1 draw against the El Paso Patriots in Texas. 2011 marks the fourth time the club has reached the Quarterfinals (2001, 2004, 2007, 2011) in 14 appearances, defeating MLS clubs three times. Aside from this year’s upset of the Crew, in 2004, the club edged DC United, 2-1, in the Fourth Round before falling 1-0 to Chicago Fire. In 2007, the Kickers nipped the Los Angeles Galaxy weeks before David Beckham’s arrival, but were eliminated by the Second Division Carolina RailHawks in the Quarterfinals, 1-0.
PRO ERA RECORDS: 21-11-1 (1-0 in PKs) overall | 4-8-0 vs. MLS | 1st meeting vs. Sporting KC
Third Round: Chicago Fire PDL (USL PDL) 0:3 Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
A former rival of the Chicago Fire PDL team, Teal Bunbury got the hosts off to an early lead against the development side with a strike just three minutes in. Chicago would keep the game close though, before back-to-back second half goals put the match out of reach. Milos Stojcev tallied in the 58th, with Kei Kamara finding the back of the net again a minute later. Recap [+]
How They Qualified: Back-up netminder Eric Kronberg and CJ Sapong were the stars in qualifying for Kansas City, which was seeded third and started in the second round of the eastern bracket in MLS qualifying. Sapong netted the overtime game-winner 1-0 at Houston on April 6. Kronberg earned the first of two shutouts, registering the second in the bracket finale May 25 against the New England Revolution, who brought a squad of nearly all reserves. Chance Myers scored the first two goals in the 5-0 win, with Sapong adding two more to secure the berth.
Special Note: Sporting KC has not lost in 10 MLS league play matches (4-0-6) since qualifying for the tournament with its first home game of the year, although at an alternate venue.
This Month in MLS: [D-D-W] Sporting Kansas City has been a busy club since winning its US Open Cup opener at the new Livestrong Sporting Park, playing three league contests. The team kicked the month off July 2 in Portland with a 2-1 victory over the Timbers. CJ Sapong tallied first in the 15th minute and helped set up Aurelien Collin four minutes later, which proved to be the winner. They returned home for a 1-1 midweek draw July 6 against the Colorado Rapids, on a 62nd minute equalizer from Graham Zusi. The club heads into the Quarterfinal contest with a second consecutive 1-1 draw, coming from behind again with Omar Bravo scoring an equalizer three minutes into stoppage time to secure a point at home against Chivas USA.
Last Five: D-D-W-W-D | Season Record: 5-6-7 (2-0-3 Home), Tied for fifth in Eastern Conference, Tied for 10th overall
Open Cup History: The team formerly known as the Wizards have a checkered history in the US Open Cup. They won a championship in 2004 as part of a double-winning campaign (also capturing the MLS Cup) when a Igor Simutenkov golden goal defeated the Chicago Fire 1-0 in the Final. In the last four years, Kansas City has missed out on qualifying twice (2007, 2010) and made it to the Quarterfinals twice (2008, 2009). In 2007, the Wizards lost in extra time to Real Salt Lake, while last year they lost in the first round of qualification to the Colorado Rapids. On the occasions they made the quarterfinals they advanced no further, falling to the USL version of the Seattle Sounders in 2008, then to the MLS version the next year. The team was upset the only other time they faced a 3rd division team, as San Francisco Bay Seals prevailed 2-1.
PRO ERA RECORD: 11-9-3 (1-2 in PKs) | 0-1-0 vs. 3rd Division | 1st meeting vs. Richmond Kickers
2011 US Open Cup Semifinal Scenarios
Chicago Fire / NY Red Bulls at Sporting Kansas City
8:30 p.m. – LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
Richmond Kickers at Chicago Fire
8:30 p.m. – Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.
Richmond Kickers at New York Red Bulls
8:00 p.m. – Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.