RICHMOND KICKERS 2 PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 1
The Richmond Kickers ended a three game scoring drought — and did so in a rain soaked match on Saturday evening in Virginia, beating the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-1 at City Stadium.
The game, originally scheduled for a 5 p.m. EST kickoff, didn’t get going until 6 p.m.
The Kickers ended their three-game losing and scoreless streak with a pair of opportunistic goals and held on for the win despite a brilliant Marshall Hollingsworth strike that gave the Hounds some life in the second half.
As the match opened, the Hounds were applying pressure early with numerous threats into the final third, and appeared determined to be more patient in the attack, keeping the ball away from Richmond for much of the game.
After one Pittsburgh advance in the 15th minute was turned away, the Kickers Asante Samuel quickly won back possession and sent a ball to right flank.
Richmond midfielder Raul Gonzalez made a run deep on the right side and sent a low cross to the center of the box, where Fred Owusu Sekyere, redirected a shot off Hounds goalkeeper Trey Mitchell’s outstretched hand and into the net.
Moments later, things would get worse for the Hounds as defender Jamal Jack, who had played every minute thus far this season achoring the back line, suffered a game ending injury when he collided with Mitchell who was going up for a punch inside his own box.
Again, through the remainder of the 1st half, the Riverhounds were owning the ball — but could not convert a score. Marshall Hollingsworth had a nice chance from the left side in the 38th minute, and Jack Thompson fired a shot from the top of the box a few minutes later, but both were saved by goalkeeper Matt Turner.
Unable to capitalize or carryover the momentum from the end of the first half which they owned more than 60 percent of possession, the Hounds would dig a deeper hole at the outset of the second half.
Again it was Gonzalez — this time sending a dangerous free kick into the box that Hounds midfielder Victor Souto got a head on, but was knocked back down in the middle of the box.
Alhaji Kamara pounced on the ball — and put it past Mitchell — putting the Hounds behind by two goals for the first time in the 2017 campaign.
After scoring two goals early in matches in the previous two games, Key Banjo didn’t get the start, but was brought in shortly after the Hounds went behind 2-0.
It was Hollingsworth though who would thrust Pittsburgh right back into the match.
After receiving a ball near the top of the arc in the 59th minute, he made a clever turn and fired a stinger from around 22 yards into the upper corner of the net for his second goal from the year.
Both of Hollingsworth’s tallies this season have been from distance.
While his goal in Charleston sparked a comeback win, this time the Hounds were unable find the equalizer.
Richmond were content for much of the rest of the match to stay in defensive mode, allowing for the Riverhounds to keep pressing forward into the final third.
The Hounds kept trying to play the balls through the middle that Richmond were able to intercept. Pittsburgh tried a few clever attempts from Kevin Kerr and Victor Souto –trying to chip over the well-organized Richmond backline.
One lofted pass did get behind the Kickers defenders, as Corey Hertzog timed it perfectly to stay onside, then made an acrobatic attempt to redirect it past Turner, but the shot off the outside of his right foot sailed over the crossbar
With the loss, Pittsburgh’s two-game unbeaten streak on the road comes to an end.
The Hounds return home to face the Harrisburg City Islanders (1-3-0) — the first in three-Keystone Derby matches in 2017 — at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 29.
Trey Mitchell (GK) – Taylor Washington (Kay Banjo 46’), Joe Greenspan, Jamal Jack (Ritchie Duffie 23’), Rich Balchan – Jack Thompson, Victor Souto, Abuchi Obinwa (Kenroy Howell 77’), Marshall Hollingsworth – Kevin Kerr, Corey Hertzog
Subs not used: Keasel Broome, Gale Agbossoumonde, Ben Fitzpatrick, Mike Green
Matt Turner (GK) – Alex Lee, Mallan Roberts, Braeden Troyer, Conor Shanosky – Fred Owusu Sekyere (Luiz Fernando Nascimento 78’), Samuel Asante, Raul Gonzalez, Pat McCann –Alhaji Kamara (Evan Lee 78’), Oliver (Anthony Grant 65’)
Subs not used: Marcel DeBellis, Mikey Minutillo, Jackson Eskay, Sunny Jane
RIC – Fred Owusu Sekyere (Gonzalez) – 15’
RIC – Alhaji Kamara – 47’
PIT – Marshall Hollingsworth – 59’