Columbus Crew SC will kick off its U.S. Open Cup campaign with Wednesday's match against the Richmond Kickers at Richmond City Stadium. Kick-off is slated for 7 pm and the match will be live-streamed at ColumbusCrewSC.com. Here are the most important facts and figures ahead of Wednesday's match-up.
Set for Fourth Round Test
Crew SC enters play in the 102nd edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament on Wednesday, when it travels to take on the Richmond Kickers of the USL for the third time in U.S. Open Cup and club history. The U.S. Open Cup features a record number of 91 teams, an increase from the 80 that competed last year, marking the largest field in the modern era (1995-present). Crew SC claimed the 2002 U.S. Open Cup as the Black & Gold defeated the LA Galaxy 1-0 to win the club’s first ever tournament title in front of its home fans at MAPFRE Stadium on Oct. 24, 2002. The Black & Gold also reached the Open Cup Final in the club’s first appearance in the tournament in 1998 and most recently in 2010.
Richmond's Path to the Fourth Round
The Richmond Kickers enter Wednesday’s match after defeating Virginia City Beach FC 2-0 on May 20, followed by a 3-0 win over the Jacksonville Armada of the NASL on May 27. In the win over Jacksonville, Richmond’s Brian Ownby, Jason Yeisley and George Davies IV found the back of the net to give the Kickers the decisive victory. The win for Richmond was historic, as Yeisley’s goal in the 38th minute was the 100th U.S. Open Cup goal for Richmond in its history competing in the tournament. The Kickers are the first team in the U.S. Open Cup Pro Era to record this feat.
Looking to Build Off Last Year's Fourth Round Success
Last season, the Black & Gold defeated the Indy Eleven in extra time at the University of Akron in the Fourth Round. Crew SC is 1-5-0 in Fourth Round action all-time, all against MLS sides with the exception of last year’s match against the NASL. Last season, Crew SC received goals from Bernardo Anor and Jairo Arrieta, with the latter’s strike coming on a penalty in extra time, fueling the Black & Gold to a Fourth Round victory.
Rare Open Cup Opener
In Crew SC’s 18 years of competing in the U.S. Open Cup, this is just the fifth time in club history that the Black & Gold will play their opening match on the road. Previous road opening contests include a 2-1 victory at Rochester (A-League) in 1998, a 2-0 victory over Cape Cod (D3) in 2000, a 4-1 win over Michigan (USL PDL) in 2006 and a 2-1 defeat following penalty kicks against Rochester (A-League) in 2009.
New Round of 16 Draw
The U.S. Open Cup Tournament features a new procedure to determine matchups following the Fourth Round. Following the completion of Fourth Round matches, the 16 winners regardless of league affiliation will be divided geographically into groups of four. Teams that have a shared-ownership affiliation will not be placed in the same cluster. A random draw is set for June 18th to determine the pods of four teams. The winner of each Fifth Round match will play the other respective winner in their pod in the Quarterfinals.