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
This year, the Kickers start off their Open Cup run by playing Virginia Beach FC. To quote the Richmond Kicker’s staff:
Virginia Beach City FC made the NPSL playoffs in their inaugural campaign last year, finishing 6–1–3 for second place finish in the Mid-Atlantic Conference behind D.C. United Academy U23. When D.C. United left the league in 2015, Virginia Beach stepped into the available U.S. Open Cup spot, becoming the first team from the Virginia Beach area to participate in the U.S. Open Cup since 2006. Virginia Beach City FC enters this week’s match following a thrilling 3–2 First Round win over PDL side AC Connecticut. After conceding an early lead and trailing in the second half, stoppage time heroics by Pat Thompson boosted Virginia Beach through to the Second Round.
The Kickers are coming off a two-game, less than stellar, road trip that found them getting steamrolled 3–0 by Charlotte and a draw against Pittsburgh. The team will have to face Pittsburgh again on Saturday in league play. The Saturday game will be a factor in this game as Coach Cowlishaw will have to balance getting a win against a lower division but hungry team with holding back enough players to play on Saturday. Brian Ownby (#22) scored Richmond’s only goal of the road trip and expect to see him for at least a half both for his defensive efforts and creativity in the midfield. The rest of the lineup I expect to be second- and even possibly third-string players.
The game kicks off on Wednesday, May 20th at 7:00 PM. Read the official game preview and get your tickets here, and be sure to check out the Wild Wolf Wednesday which for $12 gets you a ticket and cold refreshing beer.
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.