Richmond Kickers vs. Jacksonville Armada in Wednesday night Open Cup matchup

Prior to every home game a panel of so-called experts will predict the outcome of the Richmond Kickers game. Each expert receives one point for each correct prediction. At the end of the season the winner gets a trophy and pack of gum.

What the heck is the US Open Cup?

Oh, just the third oldest soccer tournament IN THE WORLD!

The first Open Cup was held in 1913, and while there has been some tweaking here and there, the basic premise remains: teams from all levels of soccer (amateurs to pros) compete against one another.

Think of it like March Madness. That basketball tourney appeals to sports fans because small schools face off against collegiate titans…and sometimes the small schools prevail. Now what if March Madness also included amateur and NBA teams? That’s the Open Cup.

This will be the 17th time the Kickers have qualified for the U.S. Open Cup over the past 22 seasons, with an overall record of 26–15 during tournament play and winning the Cup in 1995. In 2011, the Kickers made it all the way to the semi-finals, beating the Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City and were the first lower division team to defeat back-to-back MLS teams on the road.

The game and predictions

Richmond Kickers won their first Open Cup game against Virginia Beach FC last Wednesday by a score of 2-0. The win earned them the right to face Jacksonville Armada FC. The Armada are new to the NASL and currently sit in fourth with a 3-3-1 record. From the Richmond Kickers:

Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo (#1) signed with Jacksonville after spending four seasons with former USL team Orlando City where he backstopped the club to four Championship titles. The 2011 USL Goalkeeper of the Year has since started six of the Armada’s seven inaugural-season matches. Forward Jemal Johnson (#11) leads the Armada with six points, most recently scoring his third goal of the season against Minnesota United last week. Brought up through the youth system with Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United, the New Jersey native saw stints in England and Bulgaria before signing with Jacksonville in 2015. Defender Matt Bahner (#13) joined Jacksonville after spending two seasons with USL side Harrisburg City Islanders.

The Kickers are having a few issues in regular season play, most recently losing 2-1 against Pittsburgh on Saturday. The game was a disaster for Richmond in the first half and the next day Coach Leigh Cowlishaw had this to say, from RTD:

Kickers coach Leigh Cowlishaw, still simmering, said his club’s first-half performance was “completely unacceptable” from a professional perspective. “We were absolutely void of intensity and passion and enthusiasm and the will to win,” Cowlishaw said.

If the Kickers are able to win, they’ll next face the Columbus Crew of MLS. MLS is the top league in North American and is a great opportunity for the Kickers players to test themselves against a league that many have or could be playing in the future. Games against MLS opponents provide a boost in attendance for the Kickers and makes for a lively experience, so here’s hoping they get the win.

The game kicks off on Wednesday, May 27th at 7:00 PM. Read the official game preview and get your tickets here. There is a a repeat of  Wild Wolf Wednesday, which, for $12, gets you a ticket and cold refreshing beer. It’s been proven by science that soccer is better with beer in hand.

Prediction Reasoning Score

RVANews Soccer Guru

Richmond-Kickers-Logo My confidence level is at all-time low. However, when I look at my score and see that I’m trailing, I realize that my ability to correctly pick a winner is lacking, so clearly I should do the opposite of what I think I should do. I’m going to go with a reverse logic shot between the legs, off the goal post, backspin up into the upper corner and Kickers with the outstanding win. 2

Red Army

armada Virginia Beach, Jacksonville, and then potentially Columbus. It seems like the Open Cup is giving players from unfortunate cities a chance to take refuge here. We’re the Miami to their Cuba (is that still a thing?). Unfortunately I don’t see the Crew coming to town. Extra time loss because it’s never painless. 3

Richmond Kickers

Richmond-Kickers-Logo Just like last week, I’m not so sure how some boats will play soccer. It just doesn’t make any sense. This has to mean that the Kickers will win and advance to play the Columbus Crew (at least they aren’t beach-related). 3

Total Soccer Show

Richmond-Kickers-Logo Genuinely excited for this one, not least because USL vs. NASL is a rivalry worth caring about—those NASL poseurs think they’re better than us, so a Kickers win would teach them a lesson. Good news is that Coach Cowlishaw’s Englishness means he knows how to deal with an Armada attacking from the south, so I’m predicting a Kickers win, after extra time. 4

RVANews Soccer Guru (Richard Hayes): All of Richard’s soccer knowledge comes from playing FIFA on the original Playstation and standing in bars, drinking, and yelling at the television. He also helps run RVA DCU and is a member of American Outlaws Richmond Chapter, which mainly involves drinking and yelling at televisions.

Red Army (Matt Myers) — Reigning Champion: Matt was sent off by Leigh Cowlishaw in a summer camp scrimmage as a pre-teen but has not held that against the team. He’s coming to grips with being a relatively old man now after seeing the youngsters in the Red Army and on the Kickers roster. He’s also attended way more matches than he should admit to, especially for having lived in Richmond a total of one out of the last 13 years.

Richmond Kickers (Kickeroo): The Kicker from down under. He doesn’t really like anyone who isn’t a fan of the Kickers. A daredevil who will pretty much try anything and everything but would rather not talk (on advice from the lawyers) about the incident with the scooter and the Flaming Hoop of Death, he’s also a sensitive marsupial who enjoys long walks on a dew-covered soccer field and watching the sun set behind the goal post. He also shares something with the new Kickers beer, Kick It Hunny hops.

Total Soccer Show (Daryl Grove): Daryl is English, so everything he says about footsoccerball naturally carries more weight because he says it in a British accent. He is also part of the excellent local radio show and podcast Total Soccer Show that keeps track of all soccer related things in an intelligent and fun way. If you’re not listening to the Total Soccer Show, you need to change that posthaste.

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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