Posted on 14. Feb, 2012 by Gerald Barnhart in Uncategorized
Arguably one of the US Open Cup’s most successful goalkeepers, Ronnie Pascale, has announced that 2012 will be his final season with the Richmond Kickers, ending his career where he made a name for himself for the last 12 seasons and transitioning into a coaching role with the club, serving a dual role as player and assistant coach.
It has been quite the career for the 35-year-old Furman University product. He has led the Kickers to the postseason in all but one season since he began serving as the starting netminder in 2002, winning championships in 2006 and 2009 and reaching the final on four other occasions. He also led the team to a pair of regular season titles in 2006 and 2007 and three consecutive runners-up finishes immediately thereafter, earning three Goalkeeper of the Year honors during the process.
Though he registered only one shutout in five US Open Cup matches in 2011, his leadership proved a critical element as Richmond made one of the most historic runs in tournament history by a lower division team. The lone clean sheet was the second half of the first-ever back-to-back pair of road wins by a lower division club against Major League Soccer opposition. The 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on a stormy night July 13 sent the Kickers on to the Semifinals for the first time since the club won the 1995 tournament and earned Pascale not only TheCup.us Player of the Match honors, but Player of the Round.
The 2011 run began with 4-1 victories over fellow USL Pro sides Dayton Dutch Lions and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the opening two rounds, respectively. Then Richmond stepped into the spotlight with a surprising 2-1 victory at Columbus Crew Stadium in the Third Round to reach the quarterfinal contest against KC. The Kickers’ run would come to a close, 2-1, in Chicago.
The shutout against Kansas City was the fifth clean sheet of Pascale’s career in the tournament and his 16 career appearances in the event are the most among goalkeepers since 2007. The next closest are Dusty Hudock (11) and Chris Eylander (10). Pascale’s performance in that span has been quite outstanding as well with an 11-5-0 record and a goals-against average of 1.10 against all opposition. Three of the five losses were against MLS clubs with the then higher division Carolina RailHawks attributing to the other two.