By MITCHELL NORTHAM
Led by the rookie duo Steve Neumann and Patrick Mullins, the New England Revolution outlasted USL Pro’s Richmond Kickers in the fourth round of the 2014 US Open Cup, winning 3-2 to advance to the fifth round.
Neumann and Mullins struck gold late in the second half to extend the lead to 3-1 before halftime. Neumann’s goal came in the 35th minute after finishing off an excellent pass from Mullins.
Mullins’ game-winner came just four minutes later when Richmond defender William Yomby settled a long boot from New England goal keeper Brad Knighton in the Kickers box before Mullins quickly ran up on him and put the ball in the net despite being fouled.
“I felt comfortable stepping on the field tonight,” Mullins said. “I felt like we put on a good performance and I was happy to get a goal.”
Revolution defender Stephen McCarty added a goal as well, scoring the first goal of the match when he rose up above defenders in the eighth minute of play to head in a cross from Neumann. The Kickers responded minutes later though when midfielder George Davis IV finished off a pass from forward Jason Yeisley to tie the game up 1-1 in the 24th minute.
At halftime, one of Mullins’ former teammates at the University of Maryland, Christiano Francois, came on for the Kickers hoping to inject some life into the USL Pro side, but Mullins already knew what the former Terrapin would bring to the table.
“I had a little inside scoop on him,” Mullins said. “Obviously he’s a good player and can be a little unpredictable, but when they bring on fresh legs we wanted to make sure that we were on the front foot.”
Thanks to an injection of energy from Francois and Matthew Delicate the Kickers did score late when Delicate headed in a short cross from Davis IV in the 74th minute. The Kickers were unable to capitalize from there after missing chances on four corners and three free kicks after Delicate’s goal.
“It was disappointing,” Kickers head coach Leigh Cowlishaw said of the loss. “We were very unfortunate not to get that third goal and make it more interesting, but all credit to the guys; they played against some top class professionals who are right atop the standings right now in MLS and I think they showed them how good we really are.”
The Revolution advances to the fifth round of the US Open Cup and they will host their USL Pro affiliate, the Rochester Rhinos, on June 25 at Brown University. Until then, New England can enjoy a week off for MLS’ World Cup break, but Mullins and the rest of his team are eager to get back into action.
“We want to keep winning games,” Mullins said. “Our last two games in MLS wasn’t our best showing, but with games like this we can get back in our rhythm of scoring goals.”