July 13, 2011

FORMER MEN’S SOCCER STANDOUTS SET TO SQUARE OFF IN US OPEN CUP SEMIFINALS

RICHMOND, Va. – The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the oldest current national cup competition in United States soccer and among the oldest in the world, will feature familiar faces in the semifinals Aug. 30. 

After the Richmond Kickers, who sport a trio of players with VCU ties, won their second straight road match against a Major League Soccer opponent Tuesday night, the club earned a berth into the semifinals against former Ram duo Dominic Oduro and Gonzalo Segares with the Chicago Fire.

Richmond stunned MLS's Sporting Kansas City with a 2-0 victory Tuesday, handing KC its first loss at LiveStrong Sporting Park.  The Kickers advance to the semifinal round for the first time since 1995 and become the first lower division team to win back-to-back road games against MLS opponents in US Open Cup competition.

Former VCU goalkeeper coach Ronnie Pascale (pictured) made five saves in the net for Richmond, posting his sixth shutout of the season.  Former Ram forward Matthew Delicate, who sat out Tuesday's game after injuring his hamstring last Friday, has nine goals in US Open Cup competition, which is tied for eighth-most since the professional era began in 1995.  Meanwhile, midfielder Gerson dos Santos started and played the first 45 minutes for the Kickers in Kansas City.

VCU is assured that at least two of its former players will appear in the US Open Cup Final as the Kickers will look to knock off their third straight MLS club when they face Chicago at Toyota Park on Aug. 30.  Oduro scored the game-winning goal in the Fire's 4-0 win against the New York Red Bulls on Tuesday.

Richmond captured the 1995 US Open Cup championship and was the first amateur team to win a title in the professional era.

The US Open Cup, which began in 1914, is similar to domestic cup competitions popular throughout the world in that it's open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States.  The winner of each country's domestic cup competition, in addition to taking home the prize money, is automatically placed into a tournament to compete against neighboring countries cup winners.

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