The U.S. Open Cup just doesn't seem like the U.S. Open Cup unless there's a good Cinderella run. Luckily, the Richmond Kickers are ready for their fitting. The third-division side advanced to the semifinals by beating Sporting Kansas City 2-0 after a lengthy weather delay on Tuesday at Livestrong Sporting Park.
The USL-Pro team is just the second third-division side to advance to the semifinals and the first since the San Francisco Bay Seals accomplished the feat in 1997. They will play the Chicago Fire on Aug. 30 at Toyota Park for a chance to play in the finals. After becoming the first lower-division team to win back-to-back road games against MLS teams, they will now try to become the first third-division team to advance to the finals.
"We’ve only got about 15 healthy players on our roster that just played 3 games in 5 days," Richmond head coach Leigh Cowlishaw said after the match, according to TheCup.Us. "We played in a great stadium with most of their starters — it wasn’t a reserve team — and it was their first defeat in the stadium. To do all that is just a statement about what this squad is all about. I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished."
Making the result all the more impressive were the circumstances surrounding it. The game had to be stopped in the 66th minute tied 0-0 because of lightning and there was a distinct possibility that the game would have to be replayed in its entirety.
When the game did eventually resume, Shaka Bungara scored just 30 seconds later to give the Kickers a 1-0 lead over a Sporting team that included many first-teamers. David Bulow then converted an 83rd minute penalty to seal the victory. Bulow's goal was his sixth of the tournament and gives him 14 in his career, a record during the professional era.