RICHMOND, Va – Following a one-hour lightning delay prior to kickoff, the Richmond Kickers defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-1 at City Stadium on a waterlogged Saturday night. Kickers midfielder Fred Owusu Sekyere and forward Alhaji Kamara handed the home side the early lead before Riverhounds midfielder Marshall Hollingsworth pulled a goal back in the second half. Despite late offensive pressure, the Kickers were able to solidify a much-needed victory at City Stadium.
The Riverhounds tested the Kickers defense early when defender Joseph Greenspan launched a free kick to Kevin Kerr at the top of the box. Kerr nodded it down to Jack Thompson stationed 20 yards out who flicked it on to Taylor Washington deep on the left blank. Washington whipped a curling shot towards the far post but missed just wide in the 9th minute.
The offensive momentum quickly shifted when the Kickers tallied the opening goal six minutes later. A collision in the midfield left the Kickers short-handed as Kamara received treatment on the sideline. With only 10 men on the field, Kickers midfielder Oliver Minatel intercepted the ball and laid it off for Samuel Asante who slotted it through to Raul Gonzalez on the right wing. Gonzalez raced to the top of the box and while sliding on the wet grass, managed to place a low ball in front of Owusu, parked at the top of the six yard box, who tapped it past the outstretched goalkeeper.
Later, midfielder Victor Souto muscled Kamara off the ball in the midfield and played it squarely to Thompson who launched a rocket from distance. Kickers goalkeeper Matt Turner dove to his left to make the save but the ball dangerously rebounded back to the top of the box where defender Braeden Troyer cleared it from harm’s way to preserve the narrow lead into the halftime break.
The Kickers doubled the score two minutes after the second half restart when Gonzalez set an inswinging free kick into the box from the right flank. Souto won the ball in the air at the top of the box but his header struck the back of a teammate and ricocheted back to Kamara who made no mistake from point blank range.
Pittsburgh cut the deficit in half at the hour mark when an errant clearance was intercepted by Hollingsworth. He turned his mark and buried a left-footed strike from distance into the top left corner.
The Kickers responded two minutes later when Minatel drew a foul and Troyer lined up the subsequent free kick.at the midline. His floating long ball found Owusu deep in the box who slotted it back to the penalty spot. An onrushing Kamara met the well-placed cross and blasted a shot, only to be denied by the crossbar.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, a stalwart Kickers defense weathered several Pittsburgh attempts to come away with the full three points at City Stadium.