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Palace, Richmond draw 1-1

Richmond Kickers News Release - www.richmondkickers.com

Saturday, May 23, 2009

RICHMOND, VA -- The Richmond Kickers battled Crystal Palace Baltimore to a 1-1 draw Saturday night in front of a crowd of 2,576 at the University of Richmond Stadium.

(Suz Kitsteiner)

Baltimore took the lead in the 30th minute when midfielder Val Teixiera connected on a cross from Paul Robson. Within seconds after the break, the Kickers leveled the score when a scramble in the box left midfielder Adrian Bumbut in front of an open net 10 yards out.
A scrappy affair that resulted in eight cautions and several serious injuries left Palace midfielder John Barry Nusum sidelined with a knee injury while Kickers midfielders Gerson dos Santos and Kelvin Jones both left the field following blows to the head. The Kickers return to UR Stadium next Saturday, May 30th to host the Western Mass Pioneers at 7:00 p.m.

A free kick by Mike Burke from the left side opened the game. His inswinger seemed destined to give the Kickers an early lead within the first minute of play, but both midfielders Ben Hunter and Gerson dos Santos missed the opportunity to get on the scoreboard.

Minutes later, Crystal Palace nearly gained the lead but a close attempt by Nusum was cleared off the line by Kickers defender Yomby William.

After two early chances, the pace of the game slowed and it was not until the 30th minute that Baltimore was able to find the back of the net. Robson crossed the ball into the box from the right side, finding a well-positioned Teixiera in front of the goal. Kickers goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale bobbled his close-range header but could not gain control as the ball bounced over the line.

Richmond tried to retaliate right away but dos Santos’ strike from 25 yards was easily smothered by Palace ‘keeper Brian Rowland. Later, as the end of the half drew near, Kickers midfielder Joey Worthen attempted to level the score. With three minutes to spare, he eluded defenders as he headed towards goal, splitting the two center backs and firing a low strike that Rowland scooped up to preserve the lead. During first-half stoppage time, defender Kenny Cutler fed a well-placed cross into the box, finding Worthen in the air but his header just grazed the ball as it nodded skyward.

It was not long after the second-half restart that the Kickers notched the equalizer, bring the score to a 1-1 draw in the 46th minute. Veteran midfielder Mike Burke crossed the ball into the box from the right side, forcing Rowland to make a diving attempt to intercept the ball. Unable to clear the ball from harm’s way, the rebound fell to Worthen at close range. Worthen laid the ball off to a wide open Bumbut, who settled the loose ball and fired from 10 yards out.

Later in the 70th minute, a miss-hit Palace cross from the left side, ricocheted off the top of the crossbar and rebounded back out into the mix but William cleared it from harm’s way. Minutes later, second-half substitute Kevin Gnatiko received the ball at the top of the box. Evading the challenging defenders, he fired a shot from 15 yards but his chance to break the stalemate sailed just wide of the post.

Several serious injuries on the field resulted in ten minutes of extra time, leading to one last scoring opportunity on either side of the pitch.

First, a quick counterattack from Richmond landed in front of the goal where forward David Bulow crossed the ball across the goal mouth to Cutler. The defender played the ball back to an onrushing Ross MacKenzie but his powerful shot from close range was blocked.

A few minutes later, William lost his footing as he attempted to clear a Palace long ball. Forward Kevin Gnatiko was caught off guard and could not capitalize on the slippery ground as his shot ended up wide.

Bring your dog out to the Kickers game when they host the Western Mass Pioneers at 7:00 pm at the University of Richmond Stadium on May 30th. Pet-friendly tickets are just $12/adult and $10/youth and include access to the Holiday Barn Hospitality Tent. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Richmond SPCA. The first 100 fans through the gate will receive a goodie bag courtesy of Holiday Barn Pet Resorts. Order tickets in advance via RichmondKickers.com.
 

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