The following information comes directly from the Richmond Kickers.
RICHMOND, VA – The Richmond Kickers edged the Charlotte Independence 2-1 at City Stadium Sunday evening. Charlotte cut the two-goal deficit in half courtesy of a Jorge Herrera tally in the second half but could not overcome the advantage that Jason Yeisley and Matthew Delicate combined to give the Kickers inside the first 20 minutes.
An eventful first half kicked off in the 3rd minute when the Kickers jumped to an early lead. Goalkeeper Ryan Taylor punted the ball to the opposite end of the field. As Charlotte defender Mechak Jerome warded off a lurking Jason Yeisley and attempted to nod the ball back to his keeper, it took an unpredictable bounce at the top of the 18 and the persistent Yeisley intercepted and buried the ball just under the crossbar.
Less than 10 minutes later, the Independence landed the chance to avenge the early goal when midfielder Alex Martinez scooped up a loose ball and played it wide to Carlos Alvarez on the left flank. Alvarez whipped a cross to the far post, connecting with an onrushing Herrera whose header to the near post was thwarted by Kickers defender Stephen Basso, only to be called for a handball in the box. Herrera stepped up for the resulting penalty kick but his right-footed shot was spoiled by the upright.
The action continued in the 21st minute when Kickers midfielder Fred Owusu Sekyere fed a leading ball to Yeisley racing down the right wing. Eluding his defender at the touchline, he sliced a cross through the box where Delicate was waiting to tap it over the line from point blank range to double Richmond’s lead.
The Kickers squandered the chance to take a three-goal advantage into the halftime break when a poor clearance fell to Brian Ownby in the midfield. He played the ball wide to Braeden Troyer who carried it into the box before looking for Delicate with a well-placed cross at the back post. As Delicate collided with the charging keeper, the ball rebounded out to Yeisley but Duckett was covering the open goal and cleared his side volley off the line.
A second half shift in momentum allowed Charlotte to pull a goal back just past the hour mark when defender Patrick Slogic played a square ball to Jack Thompson on the right side. Thompson found Enzo Martinez who lofted a cross to the far post where Alex Martinez kept the ball in play and slotted it back to Herrera stationed at the penalty spot and the USL veteran made no mistake with a left-footed blast inside the right corner.
Eager for the equalizer as full-time loomed near, Herrera got on the end of a back-heel pass but his resulting shot was parried into side netting. The determined midfielder teed up the resulting corner and served an inswinger into a swarming box. Defender Ben Newnam got on the end of it on the right side of the box and blasted a shot that Basso cleared off the line. Enzo Martinez collected the rebound but his follow-up shot was once again denied by the woodwork to hand a full three points to the home side.
The Richmond Kickers travel for a mid-week match up with the Charleston Battery on Wednesday, June 10 before returning to City Stadium on Saturday, June 13 to host FC Montreal. Kickoff is slated for at 7:00 p.m.