Richmond, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Kickers capitalized on a strong offensive performance to claim a 3-1 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Richmond played a high-energy, pressing style from the kickoff and held the majority of possession in the early stages. However, Pittsburgh nearly made a breakthrough on their first chance of the night when striker Mike Seth launched a long-range shot toward the Richmond goal. Kickers keeper Ronnie Pascale made a diving save to tip the ball over the bar.
For all their possession in the opening quarter of the game, Richmond couldn't carve out a clear-cut scoring opportunity. The Riverhounds looked far more dangerous in possession, nearly scoring in the 20th minute when Neil Shaffer shot over the crossbar after a long spell of Pittsburgh pressure.
The lively Christopher Agorsor spurred the Kickers' attack into life in the 23rd minute when he raced in front of Pittsburgh goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap to claim the ball. Gilstrap bowled Agorsor over inside the penalty area, but play was allowed to go on as the ball trickled to Ryan Heins. Heins opted to square his pass to Luke Vercollone, whose shot sailed over the bar with Gilstrap racing back to cover.
Agorsor again played catalyst in the 367h minute, poking the ball away from the Riverhounds and earning Richmond a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. Gerson dos Santos floated a curling ball to the back post where Yomby William was waiting, unmarked, to head into the bottom corner of the net and give the Kickers a 1-0 lead.
Richmond nearly added to their tally in the 42nd minute through on-loan midfielder Long Tan. Vercollone won a tackle in midfield and sent Tan through on goal, but the D.C. United loanee couldn't find the net with his low shot across the face of goal.
The Kickers did extend their lead just into first-half stoppage time through an own goal following a free kick. Jason Yeisley controlled the long ball into the box and sent a speculative cross into the six-yard area. The ball deflected off of Riverhounds defender Anthony Calvano, and it rolled between Gilstrap's legs and off his heel into the net to give the Kickers a fortuitous 2-0 half-time lead.
Pittsburgh brought on striker Darren Amoo to start the second half, but it was the Kickers who nearly scored straight away following the restart. In the 47th minute, Tan claimed the ball inside the Riverhounds half and unleashed a dipping shot from outside the box that Gilstrap had to parry away for a corner kick. Tan nearly turned creator in the 53rd minute, playing a well timed through ball to send Agorsor beyond the Pittsburgh defense for a one-on-one with Gilstrap, but the forward couldn't beat the keeper with his shot.
Richmond continued to dominate possession, and frustration began to set in for the Riverhounds. Matt Kassal was cautioned for dissent in the 56th minute after a foul was called against him. Pittsburgh committed another foul in the 61st minute, and Sascha Goerres' free kick careened off the crossbar.
Vercollone trapped the ball inside the Pittsburgh box and was brought down for a penalty kick in the 86th minute. Matt Delicate stepped up and sent Gilstrap the wrong way to go three goals ahead. Pittsburgh claimed a stoppage time consolation goal as Nyazamba committed a penalty kick, which Kassal converted. The goal came too late for the Riverhounds, though, and Richmond claimed the 3-1 victory.
The Kickers will be looking to continue their good form at home when they return to City Stadium next Saturday, July 21st, as they host the Dayton Dutch Lions at 7 p.m. For more information, please visit www.RichmondKickers.com.