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Preview: Kickers Take on the Bobcat in the Open Cup

The Open Cup is a knockout tournament. If the Kickers win on Tuesday they get to continue on the next round.




What is the Open Cup? – Technically, The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is a knockout cup competition in men’s American soccer. It is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States. What makes it exciting is that it pits teams from all levels of U.S. soccer against each other. Amateur teams if they make it far enough could end up facing top-level (MLS) professional teams. MLS teams have dominated the competition since the league began play in 1996. No lower division team has won the U.S. Open Cup since the Rochester Rhinos in 1999, and none have reached the final since the Charleston Battery in 2008. Our very own Richmond Kickers won the Open Cup in 1995 and in 2011 the Kickers went on the road and beat two MLS Teams the Columbus Crew and Sporting KC. They fell to the Chicago Fire in the semi-final. Last year the Kickers advanced far enough to face D.C. United but lost in DC.

1995 Open Cup Winners Richmond Kickers

Opponent:  Maryland Bobcats FC (NISA)
Date/Time: Tuesday, April 2, 7:00 PM
Last Result: League 3-1 loss to Tormenta
Up Next: Home Game vs. Central Valley Fuego FC, Saturday, April 6th

Weather Forecast From


Three Things to Kick About

  1. 3rd Division – The Bobcats play in the NISA (National Independent Soccer Association) which like the Kickers is third division in the US Soccer pyramid. The NISA as it states in the name is independent, unlike the Kickers who are tied into the convoluted machinations of the USL. The NISA is a young league only started play in 2019. I don’t feel this gives the Kickers a tremendous advantage but USL1 is the more established league.
  2. Injury Bug – The Kickers were struck with a devastating round of injuries just as preseason was wrapping up.  In theory, some of those injured should see at least some time on Tuesday. The Kicker have looked especially impotent in the attack so far this season. Scoring just three goals in three games one of which was an own goal by Tormenta. Getting Emiliano Terzaghi back on the pitch even for a 15-20 minute stint could be the boost the team needs. USL1 doesn’t have any rules about posting your available players but Coach Sawatsky in a recent radio interview said that Emi was very close so fingers crossed that means he’s been training and ready to go or least come on as a substitute.
  3. Home Field – Ask any team in the USL1 who has the best fans and they’ll say their own fans. However, if you take an unbiased look you would have to put the Kickers fanbase in the top 1 or 2 in the league. That does create an advantage when playing at City Stadium. How much of an advantage is a discussion for folks much brighter than me.  Open Cup games in these early rounds are a tough sell to the average fan and even the Red Army will have a smaller turnout than usual. This doesn’t mean the stadium will be quite, the fans that will be there are there because they love the Open Cup and supporting their Richmond Kickers.


The Kickers have not inspired confidence lately and by lately I mean since the spring of last year. I also don’t know much about the NISA or the Maryland Bobcats. So when faced with little to no facts one must depend on blind luck or faith. I have faith that the Kickers can do what it takes to continue in the Open Cup but will also be brining my lucky rabbit’s foot just in case.

Kickers: 2
Bobcats: 1


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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.