Kickers settle for draw with Dayton

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Kickers battled the Dayton Dutch Lions to a 1-1 draw Saturday night at City Stadium.  A pair of free kicks on either side of the field saw the Kickers take the lead when George Davis IV converted one just before Dayton defender Shintaro Harada leveled the score in identical fashion to steal a point on the road.

The Kickers tested Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams early when defender Shane Johnson served a long ball over the defense, finding Shay Spitz at the top of the box in the 9th minute. The crafty midfielder eluded defenders and sliced a shot from point blank range across the goal mouth but Williams extended to narrowly parry the ball from harm's way.  Forward Matthew Delicâte chased down the follow up shot but Williams threw himself into the line of fire to deny the Kickers a second time.

Less than 10 minutes later, Kickers defender Alex Lee lofted a long ball into a crowded box, connecting with Spitz but his nod from the top of the six yard box dipped just over the crossbar.  Sascha Görres intercepted the resulting goal kick and delivered a sliding pass back to Spitz but his subsequent low driven ball curved just wide of the far post.

Just past the half hour mark, the Kickers pressed again when Görres whipped a cross into the box, finding Delicâte in the air but his marksman's nod was blocked by a resolute Williams.  The big forward battled for the rebound but collided with the right post as Dayton defender Matt Wiet flew onto the scene at the last second to punch the ball wide.

The Dutch Lions retaliated two minutes later with their best chance of the half when defender Taylor Bowlin served a long ball to Jennah Karamba at the right edge of the box.  The Dayton newcomer centered the ball for Cameron Vickers who played it back to Sebastian Thurierre at the top of the box.  The midfielder's shot deflected off a Kickers defender but Vickers latched onto the loose ball and rifled a laser shot that glanced inches over the woodwork.

With the first half whistle looming, the Kickers nearly took the lead into the break when Spitz evaded his mark at the left edge of the box and played a square ball to Delicâte.  With his back to goal, he laid the ball off to an onrushing Davis at the top of the 18 who blasted a low shot that rattled the upright.

Davis picked up where he left off after the restart, drawing a free kick after midfielder Samuel Asante danced through the box and played it back to him at the top of the box only to be tripped up by Shintaro Harada.  Lining up the resulting spot kick, he made no mistake when he unleashed a laser shot that tore through the defensive wall and straight to the upper 90 to give the home side the lead in the 51st minute.

Dayton nearly pulled a goal back at the hour mark after earning a free kick deep in their own territory.  Harada scooped up the quick restart and was off to the races, combining with Karamba to spring Vickers free at the top of the box but his determined shot soared skyward.

The visitors' persistence was rewarded and the Dutch Lions leveled the score, capitalizing on a free kick with 10 minutes remaining in regulation.  Thurierre drew the foul inches from the top of the box and Harada buried a low right footed slicing shot just inside the left post.

In a last gasp effort to salvage three points, the Kickers saw their final chance rocket over the crossbar in stoppage time.  Yeisley and a Dayton defender collided in the Kickers own half, allowing Görres to pick up the loose ball and carry it through the midfield where he fed a square pass to second half substitute Tishan Hanley rounding the left side of the box.  Faced with an open net, the Kickers forward launched a shot into space from point blank range to settle for the draw.

The Richmond Kickers return to City Stadium on Saturday, August 23 to host Orlando City in the regular season finale.

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.