The third round of the Lamar Hunt Open Cup takes place this Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Crew Stadium. The Richmond Kickers defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 4-1, on June 21 to earn a chance to play the Columbus Crew. Before kickoff on Tuesday night, fans should be aware of who the Kickers are to better understand why this promises to be a great match.
Richmond is in the USL PRO League’s American Division. The club was established in 1993 and developed some great players in the 2000s that now play in the MLS. Some notable alumni of the Kickers are Dwayne De Rosario, Brian Carroll, and the Crew’s own William Hesmer. De Rosario played with them in 2000 and scored 15 goals leading the club to a 20-6-1 record. Carroll and Hesmer were loaned from MLS teams in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
If the Crew can get past the Kickers, it could be a good omen. That’s because the Black & Gold opened their 2002 U.S. Open Cup championship run with a 3-0 victory over the Kickers at Crew Stadium on July 17, 2002. Brian McBride opened the scoring before Dante Washington tallied twice in the second half.
As of June 22, 2011, the Kickers were second in the standings with 23 points, and they have some players on their roster that will challenge the Crew. Forward Matthew “Deli” Delicate already has 7 goals and 3 assists this season. He leads the team in total points. In 2009 he was the league’s goal-scoring champion and in 2010 was an All-League First Team honoree in the USL. He scored twice in the second-round game against Pittsburgh.
Another player that lifted the Kickers in their last game was midfielder David Bulow, who put in two goals in the first half. Overall, he has three goals on the year and is third on the team in points. In 2007, Bulow made headlines when he scored the lone goal against the LA Galaxy to advance the Kickers in the Open Cup. Midfielder Stanley Nyazamba will be a recognizable name to many Crew fans, as he was a member of the team for part of the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He has two goals and two assists so far this season.
The man protecting the net for the Kickers has plenty of experience. Ronnie Pascale has been playing in the USL since 1999 and he was in goal when the Kickers and Crew met in 2002. In 2009, he was named the USL’s Goalkeeper of the Year for a third time. In 2010, his GAA was 0.88 and he helped the Kickers make their sixth USL Championship appearance in nine years. This year he has made 33 saves and his GAA is 0.92.
In 2010, the Richmond Kickers had three players make the USL ALL-League First Team:
-Defender Yomby William
-Midfielder Luke Vercollone
-Foward Matt Delicate
They also had three players make the USL All-League Second Team:
-Defender David Hertel
-Defender Sascha Goerres
-Midfielder Michael Burke
All of these players are still currently listed on the Richmond Kickers roster and are scheduled to make the trip to Columbus.
Last year, the Kickers lost in the third round to D.C. United by a score of 2-0. On Tuesday, June 28, they will face the Crew to try and avenge the loss from last year. The Kickers have one more game before they travel to Columbus, a league game vs. F.C. NY on June 24.
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