Richmond hits double

Fresh off their USISL Premier League title, the Richmond Kickers completed their double championship season by winning the final of the U.S. Open Cup against the El Paso Patriots Aug. 27.

A crowd of 7,378 at El Paso's Socorro Sportsplex saw a competitive game that sadly had to be decided by a penalty kick shootout after regulation and overtime finished deadlocked at 1-1.

Richmond forward Rob Ukrop opened the scoring in the 49th minute taking a pass from Leigh Cowlishaw inside the penalty area and slipping the ball past El Paso goalie Jake Arrambide.

The Kickers were reduced to 10 men in the 51st minute when defender Kevin Scott was ejected for kicking Patriots defender Rafael Nunez in the ribs.

With the man advantage the tide turned in favor of the Patriots, who equalized in the 80th minute through midfielder Gabino Amparan. Amparan's 30-yard strike, off a pass from midfield partner Sal Mercado, deflected off a Richmond defender into the net.

But just two minutes later the Patriots were also reduced to 10 men when defender Hector Cervantes was shown the red card for a breakaway foul.

In the tiebreaker shootout Richmond keeper Jeff Causey, a three-time NCAA champion with the University of Virginia, proved to be the difference, snuffing two Patriot shots, while his teammates scored four of their five.

"We have a bunch of leaders on our team who want to put the ball in the net," Ukrop, who was named the game's MVP, told the El Paso Times. "We were confident in the penalty kick situation and Causey was the big difference. He knew what it took to win."

by Soccer America Associate Editor Poul Swain

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