The following comes directly from the Richmond Kickers:
RICHMOND, VA – (Wednesday, September 14, 2016) – Richmond Kickers’ (12-7-9) chances of a home play-off game are hanging by a thread after a scoreless draw with Charlotte Independence (14-7-6).
With two regular USL season games remaining, Kickers sit five points behind the top four-placed teams, all of whom will play the first round of play-off games on home turf.
Despite having two goals ruled out, Kickers did not do enough to beat a strong Charlotte side that Richmond may well meet again this season.
A tense, nervous game that lacked tempo for the large part, Richmond actually started in explosive fashion.
A direct, determined run from Brian Ownby drew a foul 35 yards out from goal, and when Fred Owusu Sekyere’s cross was headed into the net, City Stadium roared with celebration, only for referee Matthew Franz to rule the effort out for an infringement.
It would have been the dream start for Richmond, but they did not build on that exciting start in a game that did not see either goalkeeper make a save until the 79th minute.
Edge-of-the-box Charlotte efforts from Alex Martinez, Paul Clowes, and Enzo Martinez failed to test Travis Worra in the opening half, as both sides seemed to content to let the other team make the first move.
Owusu Sekyere fired in a powerful 16th minute shot that flew just over, but other than that, the first half was uninspiring.
Neither coach decided to make any substitutions at half-time, but Kickers’ chief Leigh Cowlishaw did throw attacking duo Anthony Grant and Scott Thomsen on in the 58th minute in a bid to win the game.
This almost paid dividends immediately, as from the ensuing throw-in after the changes, Ownby flicked Hugh Roberts’ long throw agonisingly wide with Grant arriving a little too late at the far post.
Enzo Martinez was off target for Charlotte again in the 68th minute, while Patrick Slogic also headed wide for the visitors shortly after.
Ownby drew warm applause in the 79th minute as he registered the first shot on target, albeit a comfortable save for John Berner.
Worra then had to get down well to smother Enzo Martinez’s grasscutter five minutes later, before Grant was ruled offside after bundling home Ownby’s cross.
Richmond threw bodies up in the final stages, but Charlotte held firm as Kickers enter the last two regular season games needing a minor miracle to finish in the top four.