RICHMOND, VA – (Monday, May 28, 2012) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased host D.C. United of Major League Soccer, for the first time in four years, at Richmond City Stadium in the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup this Tuesday, May 29 at 7:00 p.m. The Kickers will wear their 1993 retro third kit, showcasing the custom green and blue adidas uniforms inspired by the club’s first season. Should the Kickers advance to the Fourth Round, they will host the winner of the Philadelphia Union (MLS)/Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO) match on Tuesday, June 5. Tickets are $15, youth and adult and are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
“We have three games in five days and although the D.C. United game is going to be a great night for Richmond, making the playoffs is our number one priority,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Head Coach and Director of Soccer. “This will be a wonderful opportunity to test the strength of our squad against MLS’s in-form team.”
Wednesday’s match-up marks the 11th meeting between the two clubs with the series deadlocked at 4-4-1. The Kickers last faced United in the U.S. Open Cup on June 30, 2010 when they were knocked out of the tournament, 2-0. United made their most recent appearance in Richmond in a 2008 exhibition, during which the Kickers came away with a 3-0 victory over the MLS powerhouse. The clubs met three times previously in the U.S. Open Cup, including a 2004 upset when the Kickers ousted the black-and-red, 2-1, in the Third Round at City Stadium.
With a history and reputation of defeating MLS teams, the Kickers enter the Third Round of the 99th edition of the tournament after making history with their remarkable run to the semifinals last season. Becoming the first lower division team to defeat back-to-back MLS teams on the road, the Kickers ejected the Columbus Crew in the Third Round before handing Sporting Kansas City their first-ever loss at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in the Quarterfinals. Advancing to the semifinals for the second time in franchise history, the Kickers narrowly missed the Championship berth, conceding a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire last August.
The Kickers are coming off their first home win of the season, picking up a dramatic 3-1 victory over the Wilmington Hammerheads Saturday. Rallying back from a one goal deficit, Kickers midfielder David Bulow converted a second half penalty to level the score before forward Christopher Agorsor registered back-to-back stoppage time goals to earn a necessary three points. Four days earlier, the Kickers advanced to the U.S. Open Cup Third Round following an emphatic 4-0 win over the Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC in the Second Round on May 22. Early goals by Agorsor and Gerson Dos Santos gave the visiting Kickers the lead that they held throughout the match. Later, Agorsor netted his second tally of the night two minutes before Nozomi Hiroyama rounded out the scoreline in the 84th minute.
Meanwhile, D.C. United enter this year’s tournament in the Third Round along with the other 15 U.S.-based Major League Soccer teams, signifying the first time since 2006 that all Division I teams will participate. Leading the Eastern Conference Standings following a 3-2 win over New England Revolution Saturday, D.C. holds an 8-4-3 record and 27 points and are unbeaten in their last three regular season outings.
Players to Watch
Kickers: David Bulow (#10) notched his 14th goal in U.S. Open Cup history against Sporting Kansas City in 2011 to become the tournament’s all-time leading scorer. The Kickers veteran midfielder notched his second goal of the 2012 campaign after converting a second half penalty kick to level the score against the Wilmington Hammerheads last weekend. Newcomer Christopher Agorsor (#15) netted four goals in four days last week, adding a pair of tallies against the Aegean Hawks in the U.S. Open Cup Second Round before adding another two goals on Saturday against Wilmington. The speedy forward signed with the Kickers after stints with the Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer and leads the team with five goals and one assist overall this season. A tireless workhorse in the midfield, Luke Vercollone (#4) is in his fifth season in Richmond and has played all but three minutes during the 2012 campaign, notching one assist. The former New England Revolution player reached his 100th game played with the Kickers against the Chicago Fire during last year’s U.S. Open Cup Semifinals.
United: Forward Josh Wolff (#16) has an extensive MLS career, making a combined 265 appearances with Chicago Fire, Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United. Earning 52 caps and scoring nine goals and five assists with the U.S. National Team, Wolff tallied five goals for United in 2011 and has contributed one assist this season. Lewis Neal (#24) signed with D.C. after spending the 2011 season with the defending USL PRO Champions Orlando City. Notching four goals for the Kickers league rivals last year, the former Stoke City FC midfielder has earned two starts in six appearances with United in 2012. Anchoring the back line in 61 games for United over four seasons, defender Dejan Jakovic (#5) contributed his first goal of the season Saturday, giving D.C. a 2-0 lead over the New England Revolution at the half.
About the Richmond Kickers
The 2012 season marks the 14th time the Richmond Kickers have qualified for the U.S. Open Cup over the past 20 seasons, with an overall record of 24-12 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 81 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.
About the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
This year’s U.S. Open Cup includes a 64-team field, which represents the largest in the modern era (1995 to present), eclipsing the previous record of 42 teams set in 2005 and 2006. It also is the largest expansion of teams (24) from a previous year in the competition’s recent history with all Division I, II and III professional clubs will be participating in the tournament proper for the first time ever.
New in 2012, the U.S. Open Cup includes a random selection process for determining home teams from the first round through the quarterfinals among clubs that have applied to host. This change gives each participating team with a venue meeting tournament standards an equal chance at hosting its possible opponent for these rounds.
The U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament, crowning a champion for 98 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. The 2012 champion will earn a $100,000 cash prize, while the runner-up will collect $50,000. The top NASL, USL PRO and amateur clubs will each receive a $10,000 prize.
Richmond Kickers Record Versus D.C. United
1999 Exhibition Kickers 1, United 0 *Terminated due to lightning
2001 Open Cup United 2, Kickers 1
2002 Exhibition United 1, Kickers 0
2003 Exhibition Kickers 1, United 1
2004 Open Cup Kickers 2, United 1
2005 Open Cup United 3, Kickers 1
2006 Exhibition Kickers 0, United 0 *Terminated due to lightning
2007 Exhibition Kickers 3, United 2
2008 Exhibition Kickers 3, United 0
2010 Open Cup United 2, Kickers 0