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 18th 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.
Three Things to Kickabout
- Who are Ya?– One of the joys of the Open Cup is facing a team you know nothing about. The profile on USL calls Chirstos FC and they have the attitude to match: This isn’t your average Sunday-morning team. They’re no beer-league for-funners or pub-crawlers making up the numbers and playing for giggles. “We’ve lost maybe one of our last 90 games,” said Caringi, who spearheads the attack for Christos FC, founded by Greek immigrants 20 years ago and taking their first team to new heights in recent seasons.
- Eyes on Caringi –Peter Caringi is Christos FC and former PDL player. He scored a hat-trick last week against Fredricksburg FC in the first round of the Open Cup and the Kickers will need to shut him down.
- Goals, we don’t got ’em – I really need to just copy and paste a bit about Richmond needing to find its finishing touch. The same was true this past Saturday. Kickers had 10 shot and only 2 were on goal. The result? Another zilch on the scoreboard. This needs to change.
If the Kickers don’t win this one it’s a sad day in Richmond. Having a busy schedule shouldn’t be a problem for the Kickers and even with the starters resting should win. Richmond 3 –Christos FC 1. The fact that I don’t make this more of a blow out speaks volumes.
Official Kickers Preview
The Richmond Kickers open up their quest for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday, as they host Christos FC (Md.) in the Second Round of the tournament. This marks the first-ever meeting between the two clubs. The match will be streamed live on RichmondKickers.com and USSoccer.com. Fans who purchase tickets to see the Premier League in RVA, when the Kickers host Swansea City AFC July 19, will receive a free ticket to this match.
Christos FC is a local qualifier from the Maryland Major Soccer League, Maryland’s premier amateur adult soccer league. The regining Amateur Open Cup and National Cup champions first picked up a qualifying win over former Kickers Open Cup opponent Aegean Hawks 1-3 after extra time September 10, 2016. Christos followed that with a Second Round qualifying win over West Chester United 1-0 on October 16, 2016. Christos FC defeated NPSL side Fredericksburg FC 3-0 in the First Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, on the strength of a hat trick from Peter Caringi III. Goalkeeper Phillip Saunders also kept a clean sheet in this contest.
The Kickers played to a 0-0 draw with the Harrisburg City Islanders the last time out. The game was not without its chances, as the sides totaled 19 shots. Richmond’s best chance came towards the end of the second half when Yudai Imura sent a ground pass through the defense, finding forward Alhaji Kamara, who drove into the penalty box and fired a shot, but City Islanders’ goalkeeper Brandon Miller was able to deflect the ball away with his knees. Matt Turner earned his first clean sheet of the 2017 season in goal. Richmond has posted a record of 2-4-2 in the USL Regular Season, including a 2-2-2 record at City Stadium.
Following this matchup, the Kickers embark on a three-match road trip starting Sunday, May 21 when they take on long-time rivals Rochester Rhinos for a 6:05 p.m. kickoff at Capelli Sport Stadium. The match will be streamed live on uslsoccer.com/match-center. Richmond continues their three-match road swing at Toronto FC II Wednesday, May 24 and at the Ottawa Fury FC Saturday, May 27.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Midfielder Yudai Imura (#14) returned to the lineup on Saturday after missing six weeks with a hamstring injury. He came close to an assist on Alhaji Kamara’s shot that was well saved by Brandon Miller on Saturday. The Kickers’ star midfielder had a breakout season in 2016, his sophomore season in Richmond, where he appeared in 30 of 33 games, scoring 11 goals and adding two assists. Forward Sunny Jane (#10) made his first start for Richmond on Saturday after two appearances off the bench earlier in the season coming off a knee injury. His quick ground shot on a through ball from Braeden Troyer in the 19th minute rolled just wide of the Harrisburg goal. The Lesotho International appeared in 25 games last season, scoring four goals and assisting on two in his first season for the Kickers. Midfielder Fred Owusu Sekyere (#4) has appeared in all eight of Richmond’s matches this season, starting in seven and is having a breakout season for the Kickers. He assisted on the first goal of the season and has scored two of the team’s four goals in this campaign. The Ghanaian is second on the team with 645 minutes played this season and is first with six shots on goal and 17 fouls won.
Christos FC: Forward Peter Caringi III (#9) scored a hat trick in the first round match on the road at NPSL side Fredericksburg FC. The University of Maryland-Baltimore County midfielder was selected by the Montreal Impact at the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, but ended up signing his first professional contract with USL side Oklahoma City Energy FC. He made 11 appearances for the club in its first season, scoring one goal. Goalkeeper Phillip Saunders (#0) earned a clean sheet in the First Round match against Fredericksburg FC. Signing his first professional contract with BÍ Bolungarvík of the Icelandic First Division, the former University of Maryland-Baltimore County won the 2013 America East title in his senior season, posting a goals against average of 0.70 for the season, the 19th best record in the NCAA in 2013. Midfielder Mamadou Kansaye (#2) posted an assist on Caringi’s second goal of the match in the 3-1 win over Fredericksburg FC. After completing his senior season at the University of Maryland – Baltimore County, Kansaye signed his first professional contract with the Charlotte Independence of the USL, making four appearances for the club in 2015.
Kickers Sign Matt Bolduc and Brandon Eaton
The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce the addition of midfielders Matt Bolduc and Brandon Eaton. Both players will be eligible for selection for Wednesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Second Round match versus Christos FC at City Stadium.
Bolduc signs with the Kickers after making 19 appearances with USL Eastern Conference rivals Harrisburg City Islanders in 2016. He added one assist during the City Islander’s 3-1 win at FC Montreal and also contributed to a pair of shutouts. A native of Peterborough, New Hampshire, he made 16 appearances during one season at the University of Massachusetts before a one year stint with Mass United of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).
Signing his first professional contract, Eaton made 59 appearances with Virginia Commonwealth University over three seasons, adding two goals his senior year. A native of Chesapeake, Virginia, he spent one year at Virginia Tech before transferring to VCU.
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FREE admission to Wednesday’s Open Cup game with purchase of a Swansea game ticket!