Last night Peter Vermes selected a squad well capable of defeating the Richmond Kickers and advancing in the US Open Cup. The team's starting back line for the past few games was starting, the midfield had 3 players that have all gotten plenty of first team minutes in league play, and the forward line had 2 players that have represented their national team. A lineup like that should be able to top a 3rd division side. Unfortunately the guys on the field didn't seem like they were really there to play, and after an 80 minute lightning delay while Richmond came out ready to play KC looked like they were still in the locker room as Richmond scored twice to win 2-0.
While KC didn't play up to their ability, credit has to be given to Richmond, they came in with a smart game plan for this game and played it to perfection. They sat behind the ball, let KC have all the possession they wanted 40 yards out from goal but then swarmed the ball defensively when the Wizards got into the offensive third. After the lightning delay, the rain slicked field played right into their attempts to counter as well.
KC controlled the game entirely, possession was probably something like 80 to 20 for long stretches of the game, but the shooting, a problem that has haunted KC for a while now, still lacked. KC had 25 shots, only 6 on goal, and never really tested Ronnie Pascale in the Kickers net until late. In the first half each of the forwards for KC had some chances that were close but only one was actually on goal. Scott Lorenz, who looked pretty good for much of the night in the forward position, put a back heal off the post after some good work on the wing by Kei Kamara. Teal Bunbury forced Pascale to make a save on a blast from 30 yards out that Pascale didn't hold, but no one followed the shot. Then in stoppage time, Kamara tried a bike from the top of the penalty area, and didn't miss by much. After the first half KC had to fell confident that the ball would come, on the opposite side of the field, Eric Kronberg hadn't even had to make a save.
In the second half KC continued to control the game, but Richmond did a little better offensively, forcing Kronberg into one save. KC took control from there, with multiple crosses and attacks into the box, but came away with nothing, a lack of creativity from Sporting left them with little but hopefully crosses. The best chance came to Teal Bunbury who had got played in 1v1 with the keeper, but skied his effort over the bar. Then in the 65th minute the storms that hit KC last night were close enough to postpone the game for 81 minutes.
After the restart, KC looked like they were still in the locker room as I'm not sure KC got more than 5 touches on the ball before Richmond grabbed the lead. A long ball over the top was misjudged by Matt Besler and the ball went over his head. Substitute David Bulow raced onto the ball and squared it into the middle to an open Shaka Bangura. Kronberg seemed like he'd collect the ball right off of Bangura's foot, but on the slick surface Bangura's shot deflected over Kronberg and looped into the net for the 1-0 lead for Richmond. KC threw more caution to the wind sending more numbers forward looking for an equalizer, but with the lead Richmond sat a little deeper and again KC was forced to hope for a header on a long ball or off a set piece and they weren't coming. Then in the 82nd minute KC's high line cost them, as Jamel Wallace got played in behind the KC back line. Aurelien Collin was able to run him down but fouled Wallace in the box giving the Kickers a PK. It's surprising Collin wasn't sent off for the challenge since he was already on a yellow. Bulow stepped up and fired the shot just out of the reach of Kronberg.
The game was basically over at that point but KC tried to find a consolation. Omar Bravo probably came the closest with a diving header that forced Pascale into a low diving save to catch it. The Open Cup run for KC is over, for the 6th time in the team's history it comes at the hands of a lower division side.
Wizards Man of the Match - Chance Myers - This is being awarded to basically who I thought sucked the least last night. Myers had another decent game at the back in a game where the majority of the guys didn't have decent games.
Player Ratings - Kronberg 5, Harrington 4, Besler 4, Collin 4, Myers 5, Sassano 5, Diop 3, Stojcev 4, Lorenz 5, Bunbury 3, Kamara 3. Subs Espinoza 5, Bravo 5, Sapong 4.