RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Kickers will host Virginia Beach City FC in the Kickers’ first game in U.S. Open Cup play. The U.S. Open Cup features competition between American domestic leagues from Major League Soccer down to semipro leagues.
Here is more information directly from the Richmond Kickers:
RICHMOND, VA – (Monday, May 18, 2015) – The Richmond Kickers open the 102nd edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup with a Second Round match-up featuring Virginia Beach City FC of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) this Wednesday, May 20 at City Stadium. The pre-game party begins at 6:00 p.m. with live music from The Follies, RVA food trucks and craft beer on tap. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. and Wild Wolf Wednesday tickets, including admission and a Kick It Hunny, are on sale now for $12 at RichmondKickers.com.
The 2015 season marks 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. 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.
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 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer’s National Club Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 101 consecutive years dating from 1914. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor American soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt. This year’s winner will earn $250,000, a berth in the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions’ League and have its name engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, one of the oldest nationally contested trophies in American team sports. The runner-up will take home $60,000, while the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will earn a $15,000 cash prize.
Should the Kickers advance to the Third Round, they will host the Jacksonville Armada of the North American Soccer League on Wednesday, May 27.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Midfielder Brian Ownby (#22) tallied his third goal of the season when he capitalized on a defensive mistake to carry the Kickers to a 1-1 draw on the road in Pittsburgh last week. The former Richmond Strikers Academy and University of Virginia midfielder currently leads the team with nine points. Signing with the Kickers prior to the 2015 season, USL veteran Eli Garner (#15) made 66 appearances with the Dayton Dutch Lions over three seasons. The native of Hillsborough, NC scored his first goal in a Kickers uniform last month and recently broke into the starting lineup, making consecutive starts in Charlotte and Pittsburgh. Ryan Taylor (#1) returned to action last week after being sidelined through injury earlier this season. The former FC Richmond and Midlothian High School goalkeeper posted three saves in the Kickers 1-1 draw in Pittsburgh.
City: Defender Skylar Hagan (#3) notched a goal and an assist to lead Virginia Beach City FC to a dominant 3-1 win over FC Frederick to open the NPSL season last weekend. The native of Argyle, TX recently concluded his collegiate career after making 62 appearances at Old Dominion University. Midfielder Patrick Thompson joined Virginia Beach City FC this season after making 17 appearances with the Harrisburg Heat of the Professional Arena Soccer League. In his first appearance with Virginia Beach, his last-gasp game winner led City to their first U.S. Open Cup win in franchise history. Former All-Conference-USA Goalkeeper Sean Stowe (#1) backstopped Virginia Beach City FC to a 3-1 win over FC Frederick in the NPSL regular season home opener. A former FC Richmond and Cosby High School standout, the native of Midlothian, Virginia currently acts as an Assistant Coach at his alma mater, Old Dominion University.
Richmond Kickers Host Pittsburgh Saturday
The Richmond Kickers return to regular season action this Saturday, May 23 when they swap home field advantage with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Facing the Riverhounds for the second time in as many weeks after battling to a 1-1 draw, the home and home series concludes at City Stadium at 7:00 p.m. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. with live music from jive45, food trucks and craft beer on tap. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.