RICHMOND, Va. – Stephen McCarthy, Steve Neumann and Patrick Mullins supplied first half goals for the New England Revolution, who withstood a late siege from the Richmond Kickers to secure a 3-2 Open Cup win at City Stadium on Wednesday.
Amid steamy conditions that saw the mercury reach 93 degrees at kickoff, McCarthy tallied in the ninth minute, while Neumann and Mullins collected theirs in the 35th minute and 39th minute, respectively. George Davis IV brought one back for the Kickers in the 24th minute, while Matt Delicate narrowed the deficit with a 74th minute goal.
The win sends the Revolution through to a fifth round clash with its USL-PRO affiliate, the Rochester Rhinos. The match is set for 7:30pm on June 25 at Stevenson Field in Providence, R.I.
“It was big to get those goals in the first half and have a two-goal cushion,” said Neumann. “Obviously them getting the goal in the second half made it a little interesting at the end, but I thought the guys worked really hard and fought really hard to get the win.”
The Revolution officially launched their offense inside of nine minutes when Neumann sent a corner near post. McCarthy elevated over his defender and headed it through to secure his first goal in all competitions since a July 20, 2011 meeting with D.C. United.
“I just kind of pushed the marker away and went near post,” McCarthy said. “It kind of hit off the top of the mask I was wearing and found my nose so that wasn’t too fun, but it was just a great ball.”
To their credit, the Kickers refused to let early deficit dampen their spirits. They began to connect passes and play through the midfield around the 20th minute, opening the door for Davis to score on a last-ditch pass from Jason Yeisley in the 24th minute.
The match remained level until the 35th minute when Mullins slid a pass central for Neumann, who raced onto it and sent it through to reclaim the Revolution lead.
“Pat did a great job of holding the ball up like he’s done all year, and luckily found me right in front of the net, so I didn’t have much to do once it got to me,” Neumann said with a laugh. “I definitely finished it well.”
Mullins added one of his own four minutes later after chasing down a long Brad Knighton ball that Kickers defender Hugh Roberts misplayed. The rookie striker immediate seized upon the mistake and sent it through to give the Revolution a two-goal lead going into halftime.
The second half would prove to be an entirely different animal. Richmond introduced all three of its substitutes at the start of the second half, hoping to maximize the fresh legs amid the sultry conditions at City Stadium.
With Davis, Delicate and Christiano Francois leading the way, Richmond kicked on the door for much of the second half. And their efforts were rewarded in the 74th minute.
On the heels of a fierce display of attacking football, Davis sent a ball across for Delicate, who nodded it through to close the gap to one.
The Revolution were forced to endure more fireworks in the final minutes as the Kickers continued to gatecrash along the edges. But a slew of shots from Francois, Davis and Delicate all missed their mark, forcing the Revolution to sweat it out before the final whistle.
“We gave away too much at the end there,” said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. “It’s a little frustrating because we had that game in control and we gave away a little too much going into that second half.”