When the 2015 Columbus Crew SC schedule was released, it looked like the Black & Gold would have 10 days off this week, with no MLS game until next Wednesday. That break was partially filled by the U.S. Open Cup, which Columbus enters tonight in the fourth round.
Crew SC's initial opponent in the 102nd Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the Richmond Kickers of the United Soccer League, the third division in U.S. soccer hierarchy.
This game marks the third time these two clubs have met, with all the meetings coming in the Open Cup. The Black & Gold defeated the Kickers 3-0 in its opening game of the tournament in 2002 and Richmond defeated Columbus 2-1 at MAPFRE Stadium four years ago.
The Kickers are currently 6-2-6 in USL play, putting them in second place in the Eastern Conference.
Richmond enters this game on the back of two consecutive draws. Despite no wins in their last two matches, the Kickers have a four-match unbeaten streak going in league play.
Forward Matthew Delicâte, a USL PRO MVP Finalist last season, leads Richmond in goals scored this season with six, while former Houston Dynamo midfielder Brian Ownby paves the way in assists with four.
While this is the first game in the Open Cup for the Crew SC, the Kickers have already played two matches in the tournament. Richmond defeated Virginia City Beach FC 2-0 and dispatched of the Jacksonville Armada 3-0 in late May.
It appears that the lineup may be made up of mostly reserves. Multiple Crew SC players tweeted about the bus ride to Richmond, while starting striker Kei Kamara was at home, going through a drive through in his own car.
Road trip #Richmond— R.GALL (@RomainGall) June 16, 2015
Leave your comments below on what you're expecting from the match and check back during the contest to chat with other fans and members of Massive Report. Here are some notes for the match, followed by How to Watch and the live stream of the match:
- Crew SC is 1-5 in the Open Cup fourth round, with last year's victory over Indy Eleven marking the only time the Black & Gold have not faced an MLS side at this point in the tournament.
- Richmond has qualified for the Open Cup 17 of its 22 seasons of existence. The Kickers have a 28-15 record, winning the tournament in 1995 and reaching the semifinals in 2011.
- Columbus reached the final of the Open Cup in 1998, its first year participating in the tournament, only to lose to the Chicago Fire. The Black & Gold won it all in 2002, defeating the LA Galaxy 1-0, and lost in the final in 2010 to the Seattle Sounders.
- Crew SC have competed in 18 editions of the Open Cup, yet this is only the fifth time the team will open the tournament on the road.
- Richmond has become an MLS team killer in the Open Cup defeating five clubs from U.S.'s top soccer league including back-to-back victories over MLS sides in 2011.
- Captain and defender Michael Parkhurst is unavailable for this match after receiving a red card in last year's 4-2 defeat to the Fire in the fifth round.
How to Watch
Date/Time: Wednesday June 17, 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Richmond City Stadium (Richmond, VA)
Watch: Stream below