The whole night reeked of archetype. And, unfortunately for Sporting KC, the archetype places David as the firm victor over Goliath.
The crowd was excited for this match-up. We were in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup, 3 victories away from our first piece of silverware in 7 years and a birth to the growing CONCACAF Champions League. Plus, we were matched up with the only remaining non-MLS team. We could prance into the semi-finals!
Just like the Crew did into the quarters.
The Kickers are no joke. They play solid, disciplined defense, which is absolutely vital, if you hope to upset more talented teams. Richmond's defensive 4-4-1-1 spoiled wave after wave of attack and even sprouted a few dangerous counters. Sporting put plenty of shots on goal, but Richmond never allowed more than a half-chance at goal. It certainly helped them that Sporting, especially Teal Bunbury, seemed to lack that killer instinct. Players seemed to be trying to score the perfect goal at times rather than simply trying to score. When the referee blew for halftime with the match still scoreless, things looked troubling both on the pitch and on the horizon.
A storm brewed in the distance. Thunder. Lightning. Huge downpours. A chance of hail and maybe even a tornado. It was going to be destructive. It was going to ruin our Open Cup dreams. It was more than just a little rain. It was a tragedy on its way to Livestrong Sporting Park.
After 20 more minutes of scoreless play, the storm stopped the game. Lightning was in the area. The game was delayed for an hour and a half. For 90 minutes, fans worried about the worst possibility. Sporting rued missed chances. And, the Kickers went down to the brook and found 5 smooth stones to slay the giant. The symbolism was not favoring us and we could all sense it. That ugly sense of foreboding that seemed inescapable was attacking our spirits and it wasn't a welcome feeling.
Read the rest of the article on The Pursuit of Victory here.