Saturday, July 28, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. – Two goals from defender William Yomby gave the Richmond Kickers a split of the weekend series on Saturday night as the home side held on to a 2-1 win against the Charlotte Eagles at City Stadium. Richmond’s victory ended Charlotte’s six game winning streak and pulled the Kickers back into sole possession of the sixth and final berth in the USL PRO playoffs.
Richmond nearly took the lead off an own-goal in the eighth minute after Charlotte’s Devon Grousis misplayed a passback to his own goalkeeper. Grousis overhit a high, looping header over Eagles keeper Clint Irwin, but the ball ricocheted harmlessly off the left post and back into a relieved Irwin’s arms.
Five minutes later, though, Yomby seized a moment of opportunity to pull the Kickers ahead. A Philippe Davies corner kick rebounded off the arm of a Charlotte defender in the box, giving Richmond a shout for a penalty kick. As referee Matthew Franz waved off the protests, Yomby charged onto the loose ball at the top of the penalty area and hit a low, hard, first-time shot through traffic and past Irwin.
The 13th-minute goal seemed to spur the Eagles on, but they were unable to beat Kickers goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale. With a half-hour gone, space opened up in the middle of the field as both teams looked tired from the stress of back-to-back games in oppressive humidity, and neither team threatened before the half.
Yomby’s offensive opportunism allowed Richmond to double the lead 10 minutes after halftime. Davies again swung a corner into the Charlotte box, sending the ball past a Charlotte defender for a diving Yomby to power a header past Irwin.
Charlotte again seemed to find energy despite falling two goals behind. The Eagles pulled back within one in the 73rd minute after Richmond’s Luke Vercollone cleared a ball to the center of the pitch. Grousis, spotting teammate Jorge Herrera unmarked near the top of the area, struck a long ball back into Richmond's half, where an onrushing Herrera was able to control the ball before sending a well-placed shot past Pascale into the top right corner.
The Eagles continued to pile forward after the goal, sending in a number of dangerous crosses but failing to get a clean shot on target. Grousis, appearing again in the thick of things, attempted to volley Herrera’s corner toward the net, but sent it wide. As time expired, the Kickers were finally able to maintain possession and run out the clock. The teams split the season series with two wins each.
The Kickers return to City Stadium next Friday, August 3, for the first of three late season matches against Antigua Barracuda FC. Featuring several players from the Antigua and Barbuda National Team, a World Cup Qualifying opponent of the United States, the last-place Barracudas fell to Richmond 1-0 last July in their only previous meeting. Kickoff for next Friday’s match is slated for 7 p.m. and tickets are available in advance at RichmondKickers.com.