RICHMOND, VA – (Monday, May 20, 2013) – The Richmond Kickers will enter the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the Second Round on Tuesday, May 21 when they host Icon FC of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association (USASA) at City Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com. Fans wearing red can purchase tickets at the gate for $5.00 on game day and 2013 Season Passes will be accepted for this match. Should the Kickers advance past Icon FC, they will host their official Major League Soccer affiliate, D.C. United, in the Third Round on Tuesday, May 28 at City Stadium.
“This is the most important game of the season for both club and players,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “Icon FC is an excellent team who have produced some fantastic performances on their run to the second round. We are focused on making sure we reach the third round.”
In their first-ever US Open Cup appearance, Icon FC defeated the 1979 and 1991 US Open Cup Champions Brooklyn Italians (NPSL), 4-1, in the First Round. Outshooting their opponent 19-7, Icon FC advanced on the strength of a hat trick by Argjent Duka, brother of Chicago Fire forward Dilly Duka. Icon FC qualified for this year’s tournament after claiming the New Jersey Open Cup and USASA Region I Tournament titles. Icon FC became just the second New Jersey-based USASA club to qualify for the US Open Cup in the Modern Professional Era (1995-present), with the first coming last year with Jersey Shore Boca. Icon eliminated Boca in the state semifinals in penalty kicks.
The 2013 season marks the 15th time the Richmond Kickers have qualified for the U.S. Open Cup over the past 21 seasons, posting an overall record of 24-13 during tournament play. The Kickers claimed the U.S. Open Cup title the first year of the Professional Era in 1995 and have since made it to the quarterfinal round five times (1995, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2011) and the semifinal round twice (1995, 2011).
Ousting five Major League Soccer teams along the way, including Colorado Rapids in 2000, D.C. United in 2004, LA Galaxy in 2007 and Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City in 2011, the Kickers became the first lower division team to defeat back-to-back MLS teams on the road. With 82 total goals scored during the Open Cup, the Kickers have set several franchise records, as well as a Professional Era U.S. Open Cup record for most goals (12) during the 8-4 rout over the Ocean City Barons in 2005 and Kickers midfielder David Bulow is the tournament’s all-time leading scorer with 14 goals.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Defender Juan Arbelaez (#9) earned his second professional start last weekend when the Kickers hosted the LA Blues. Selected by the Montreal Impact in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, the native of Pereira, Colombia signed with the Kickers following two seasons at VCU where he made 38 appearances, tallying one goal and five assists. Midfielder Joseph Ngwenya (#27) continued where he left off a week ago, notching his fourth goal in two games in the Kickers 1-1 draw against LA. Bringing eight years of MLS experience to Richmond, the Zimbabwean international resides in second place in the USL PRO goals category with six on the season. The Kickers all-time leading scorer, Matthew Delicâte (#7) returned to the lineup in May after being sidelined through injury. Now in his seventh season with the Kickers, Delicâte eclipsed the franchise’s all-time scoring record in 2012, notching 65 goals and 18 assists in 161 appearances.
Icon FC: Argjent Duka (#11) posted a hat trick against the Brooklyn Italians of the NPSL in the U.S. Open Cup First Round last week to carry his side into Tuesday’s Second Round match-up in Richmond. The former New Jersey Rangers midfielder is the brother of Chicago Fire forward Dilly Duka. Seasoned midfielder Danny Szetela (#17) brings six years of professional experience to Icon FC, making 38 appearances with Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew and most recently, D.C. United. During a stint in the Spanish Primera División, he earned three caps with the full U.S. Men’s National Team and was name to the U.S. team that competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Midfielder Nelson Becerra (#8) made 15 appearances with USL PRO’s Harrisburg City Islanders in 2011. He posted three goals on the season, including one against the Kickers on May 14 in Harrisburg. His offensive prowess proved pivotal as Icon FC edged the Aegean Hawks in penalty kicks to clinch their first-ever US Open Cup berth in April.
About the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
The largest field of teams (68) and a significant increase in prize money highlight the 100th anniversary of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The amount of prize money distributed will see a substantial increase, with the overall champion earning a total of $250,000 (up from $100,000 in recent years). The tournament runner-up will receive $60,000 (up from $50,000) and the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will win $15,000 (up from $10,000). Home teams throughout the entire tournament will be determined by random selection.
The U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament, crowning a champion for 99 consecutive years beginning in 1914. Every winning team’s name is engraved on the base of the Dewar Challenge Trophy, which dates to the first year of the tournament and currently resides at U.S. Soccer House in Chicago.