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Cleveland SC on to Round 2 of US Open Cup!

Cleveland SC is on to round two in the US Open Cup! After their win over Lionsbridge, March 23rd, the club now has to make the trip to Richmond, VA to battle the Richmond Kickers from the USL1 division of soccer.


April 6, 2023 Match

What is amazing about this match is that it is the ONLY US Open Cup game scheduled and will be featured nationally on Bleacher Report! You can say that Cleveland SC has made it BIG TIME!


Kickoff: 7:00 PM EST

Stadium: City Stadium, Richmond, VA

Livestream: Bleacher Report Football.


Preview of Round Two opponent, Richmond:


Richmond has a big past in soccer. They premiered in 1993, created by the Ukrop family, a prominent food manufacturing company. They started play in 1993 and by ‘95, won the USISL Premier League title and the US Open Cup. (Note: The USISL Premier League is now the USL  League Two.)


Prominent ex players:

Derrick Etienne and Matt Turner are both former Richmond players. Etienne is a former New York Red Bull, FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew player. He recently signed a multi year contract with Atlanta FC.


Matt Turner is a current goalie for Arsenal in the English Premier League. After his Richmond career, Matt became the primary goalie for the New England Revolution for many years prior to his joining one of the top world clubs of football.


Turner is also the #1 goalie for the US Men’s National Team, where he had one of the most successful debuts for an American goalkeeper in World Cup history!




Coach: Darren Sawatzky


Darren, a native of Seattle, has played for many teams from MLS (Timbers) to Major Indoor Soccer (Kansas City Comets) to USL (Charleston Battery). He was a midfielder/forward in his playing days.


He has coached at almost every level in soccer from high school to college to GUAM (their national team) and now with Richmond since 2019.


Top players:

Emiliano (Emi) Terzaghi, Argentina


Emiliano will need to be contained. He has the dubious honor of leading the USL League One in goals scored the past seasons and has been named the MVP three years running! 


Zaca Moran, Argentina


Photo © Jessica Stone Hendricks Photography

Zaca forms a strong midfield that will keep pressure on the CSC middies. His passing accuracy in the opponent’s half is a stellar 90%. He and his mates are known for crushing tackles.

VCU homecoming!

Many former Virginia Commonwealth University players have been signed for the 2023 season. Kharlton Belmar will join former teammates Dakota Barnathan and Simon Fitch for the Kickers. Belmar will be on the front line with Emi.


Dakota, his Rams college partner, will join Nathan Aune as anchors in the back. Aune is an aerial master with an over 90% aerial duels won mark! A long-time Kicker, Aune is ready for the season after last year’s early playoff loss after winning the regular season.


“We put a trophy in the trophy case, but we didn’t finish it out. Now, we have aspirations of doing that. The goal is always to win, but it is also to be better at how we do it. Our brand of football will be better this year than in the past.”

Richmond has played six preseason games, winning four. They have begun their season play with a last week loss to Charlotte.

Richmond is ready for their US Open Cup game. Their fans often fill their stadium with 6,000 strong, loud voices! 

Cleveland SC win over Lionsbridge


Cvecko’s goal!

Chris Cvecko scored in the stoppage time of the first half in their game two weeks ago. It proved to be the winning and only goal scored on the night. Cvecko and net-minder Pedro Alves were the men of the match. But officially, it went to the goal scorer.

CSC coach Vlad Muresan praised Chris’ goal.

Cvecko’s goal is the epitome of what we try to do with our fullbacks.  We tried to project Chris into the final third and let him attack the byline. His finish is a testament to his technical level and calmness in front of goal, and it was a very important goal.

CSC came out in a 4-4-2 formation but struggled early on. But as the game wore on, Cleveland’s defense was the difference on the wet, cold night. Pedro Alves was outstanding between the pipes. After the match, he shared his views:

I believe that our team’s biggest strength is defense. Not only the back four, but the whole eleven are committed to defending. Toward the end, our opponent did a good job launching a few crosses into the box but everyone was switched on and able to clear their chances. I’m glad I had the opportunity to play last night and help the team with a couple of saves, but like I said, it was a team effort, everyone helped somehow.

Weathering the storm!

Lionsbridge owned possession with a 57%/43% edge but as pointed out by Pedro, it could very well have been the later crosses they continued to lob into his area. The wet turf and rain made the field very slick. And when Jannis Schmidt for Cleveland was shown a red card in the last 20 minutes of the match, it was all about “parking the bus!”

Coach Muresan noted the weather in his post game comments along with his defense’s ability. 

The conditions of the field made tackling that much more important. The ball was moving very fast due to the wet turf, and we needed these challenges and sliding tackles to protect our lead.

Cleveland’s defense was stout as they were better than Lionsbridge in tackles (11 v 10), interceptions (16-10), clearances (20-11), and most importantly saves (8 v 5).

But Lionsbridge continued to press when Cleveland went down to 10 men. But this save by Alves in the crazy last minute of the match kept the sheet clean!


Pedro was also chosen nationally as a finalist for best player in Round One.

“The physical nature of the game [against Lionsbridge] was to be expected. The yellow cards started flying in the second half when the game was on the line and the tensions and emotions of both teams were running high,” Muresan noted. That physical nature is exactly what the team will need facing a Richmond team that plays fast and rough.

Vinny Bell might get the start since the Richmond back line is a tall one. NPSL did a wonderful article on Vinny’s career with the club. His guidance, experience and aerial strength will be necessary Thursday. Coach shared the value of Vinnie in the last match.

We needed Vinny for his height and his heading ability on the defensive corner kicks and set pieces. We also knew that if he gets a chance, Vinny will put it away. His performance was fantastic, especially when we went down to 10 men.

Pedro loves how involved the squad is anywhere on the pitch. “[T]he whole eleven are committed to defending.” The starting eleven will need that same intensity Thursday night.

Watch Party!


Here’s hoping you can swing on into IGGY’s in Lakewood for the official watch party! There’s one thing about soccer: it’s best when watching with friends!

Share your positive comments for the club here or on their Instagram or Twitter web pages!

Good luck, CSC!

I am a math teacher in SW Ohio. Born and raised in NE Ohio, I am married with four sons who keep the flame burning for all things Cleveland. I cover soccer, betting, football and anything that focuses on the human side of sports.

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