The 1995 U.S. Open Cup champions enter the historic tournament for the 23rd time as the Richmond Kickers host NPSL side Cleveland SC. Seeking their 36th victory in the competition, Darren Sawatzky's side is in third place in League One with a 1-1-1 record. As expected, Richmond have dominated amateur opponents in Open Cups past; the Kickers are 16-2 all-time against pre-professional sides and maintain a combined +40 goal differential across those 18 contests.
Cleveland SC has yet to kick off its fifth NPSL season but did claim a victory in their first match of the year in a First Round Open Cup contest against USL League Two side Lionsbridge FC. The Kickers are 2-0 all-time against NPSL opposition, while Cleveland are 0-1 against League One foes after falling to Madison in last year's Open Cup Second Round.
RIC - Akira Fitzgerald: Likely returning to the fold after missing a pair of league matches for personal reasons, goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald will be determined to grab his fifth clean sheet in his 19th U.S. Open Cup appearance.
CLE - Vinny Bell: Cleveland soccer legend Vinny Bell has been an icon in the local community since his collegiate playing days in the area. The 32-year-old forward scored a 107th-minute winner in Cleveland's Open Cup debut a season ago and logged 45 minutes in CSC's 2023 First Round win against Lionsbridge FC on March 23. Bell's been the club's top goalscorer in every season since its 2018 inception.