but it's the first time that the clubs that won Open Cup championships in 1995 and 1996 have met in the competition since 2001. United reached the semifinals of the competition a year ago -- the fourth time they've been at that stage -- but failed to reach their first final since 1997. The Kickers are back in the competition for the fifth time as an A-League team, their '95 championship coming with current Richmond midfielder (and long-time United player) Richie Williams in the team.
RICHMOND KICKERS U.S. OPEN CUP HISTORY: The 1995 U.S. Open Cup champions, this is the fifth time they've been in the competition since defeating the El Paso Patriots as a USISL team that year. In 1997, the Kickers hammered D3 Philadelphia Freedom 6-1 before losing 3-0 to the MetroStars. In 2000, the Kickers knocked off the Colorado Rapids 3-0 in the second round before falling 2-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes. ... The Kickers then reached the quarterfinals in 2001, beating D3 Reading Rage 7-2 (second round) and A-League Connecticut Wolves 2-1 (third round) before losing 2-1 to D.C. United. ... In 2002, the Kickers defeated PDL (fourth division) Raleigh CASL Elite 3-0 in the second round before falling 3-0 to the Columbus Crew.
2004 OPEN CUP: The Kickers defeated the Virginia Beach Mariners 3-1 on aggregate in their A-League qualifying series, with a 1-1 draw in Richmond (Joey Worthen 69 - Jakob Fenger 43), before winning 2-0 at Virginia Beach (Jeffrey 12; Delicate 28). ... The Kickers then took extra time, but eventually disposed of PDL (fourth division) Cape Cod Crusaders in the third round thanks to a 94th-minute goal from former D.C. United forward David Hayes. ... Here's the team Leigh Cowlishaw ran out: Ronnie Pascale; Tony Williams, Kevin Knight, Peter Luzak, Chris Fox; Mike Burke (Richie Williams 75), Clyde Simms, Paul Lekics, David Hayes; Matt Delicate, McColm Cephas (Kevin Knight 75)
2004 A-LEAGUE: The Kickers are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points from 20 matches, but just four points out of first place. ... Matthew Delicate leads the Kickers with six goals, four assists from 20 matches, his 16 points tied for eighth-best in the league. Joey Worthen is next with five goals, one assist. ... The Kickers come into the match off a 1-0 loss to the Rochester Raging Rhinos last Sunday at home, behind a Lenin Steenkamp eighth-minute goal.
A year ago, reached the semifinals of the Open Cup for the fourth time in club history, before losing 3-2 to the MetroStars in their only match against an MLS team. ... In the third round, United survived a 2-1 victory against A-League side Pittsburgh Riverhounds at the Maryland SoccerPlex (Petke 32, Kovalenko 44 - Thiago Martins 74), before claiming a 1-0 victory against A-League Virginia Beach Mariners in the fourth round (Hristo Stoitchkov 97). They then defeated third division (PSL) Wilmington Hammerheads (Ronald Cerritos 30) in the quarterfinals. ... United did not qualify for the Open Cup in 2002, but reached the semifinals in 2001, where they lost to New England Revolution. Along the way, United defeated New Jersey Stallions (D3) 8-0, Hershey Wildcats (A) 3-0 and Richmond Kickers (A) 2-1. ... United have one loss to lower division competition in the Open Cup, a 4-3 extra-time loss away to Charleston Battery in the third round in 1999, the only time they have failed to at least reach the quarterfinal stage. ... Winners in 1996, defeating Rochester Raging Rhinos in the final (Diaz Arce 45, Pope 63, Moreno 89), United reached the final the following year before losing to Dallas Burn on penalties after a scoreless draw. They were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2000 before losing in the semifinals last year.