Richmond, VA (WWBT)- The visiting Los Angeles Blues claimed the lead in the 5th minute and held it throughout the match to earn a 2-1 win over the Richmond Kickers on a steamy Friday night at City Stadium. With a heat index soaring over 110 degrees, midfielder Cesar Rivera and Jonatan De Leon combined to tally a pair of first half goals before Kickers defender Sascha Görres converted a 69th minute penalty to avoid the shutout. The Richmond Kickers take to the road to face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds next Saturday, July 30 before returning to City Stadium on Saturday, August 6 to host the Dayton Dutch Lions in their final regular season home match.
The Blues added extra heat to the stifling humidity directly out of the gates when Rivera fed the ball through to De Leon at the top of the box. One on one with Kickers goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale, he calmly slotted it underneath the veteran netminder into the far corner of the net to give the visitors a fifth minute lead.
Later, the Kickers saw their best two chances to level the score averted within a four minute span. First, a quick restart found Görres open on the left side of the box. He calmly played the ball squarely to an open David Bulow at the penalty spot but his volley dipped just over the crossbar in the 33rd minute.
Then, Kickers midfielder Gerson dos Santos played a long ball up to a well-positioned Bulow on the left edge of the box. He served it to a heavily marked Matthew Delicâte at the far post, who won the ball in the air but his determined header was smothered by Blues goalkeeper Oscar Dautt.
With just one minute from the halftime whistle, the Blues added a second tally to the scoreline when Rivera teamed up with his strike partner De Leon once again. Receiving the ball from Rivera on the left wing, De Leon powered through the defense and fired a missile from point blank range into the back of the net.
The Blues carried the 2-0 lead into the halftime break, and maintained the advantage until defender Nelson Akwari was called for a rash tackle against Kickers midfielder Luke Vercollone inside the box in the 68th minute. A composed Görres stepped up to the spot and converted the penalty with German precision to put the Kickers back into the game.
Gaining momentum, the Kickers nearly notched the equalizer in the 73rd minute when Görres lofted a ball into the box from the left wing. Delicâte reached to redirect a header to the far post but the Kickers big marksman was denied by Dautt.
The Blues answered back with a close call of their own in the 83rd minute when midfielder Tomi Colic launched a rocket from close range on target but Pascale pushed it wide.