Kickers fail to catch first place Orlando

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Kickers suffered a 3-2 loss to Orlando City in front of a rain-soaked crowd of 3,562 at City Stadium Saturday night.  Orlando midfielders Valdmiro Lameira and Kevin Molino boosted the visitors to a 2-0 lead within the first 10 minutes on either side of the half before Kickers midfielder George Davis IV pulled a goal back.  Rafael Ramos increased the visitors' lead but a Nate Robinson goal and a late game comeback was not enough to overcome the lead-leaders who snapped the Kickers' 21-game unbeaten streak.

Orlando raced to an early lead, capitalizing on a free kick opportunity in the 8th minute.  Forward Corey Hertzog drew a free kick deep in the right corner and Adama Mbengue served the inswinging free kick into a swarming box.  Defender Rob Valentino got a touch on the loose ball inches from the goal line but Kickers midfielder Luke Vercollone headed it off the line.  Lameira rushed onto the rebound at the top of the box and buried the follow up shot into the far right corner.

The Kickers responded four minutes later when defender Conor Shanosky served a long ball from the midfield to the top of the box.  An Orlando defender headed it down, only to be scooped up by Kickers midfielder Luke Vercollone who laid it off to Shay Spitz.  The Kickers midfielder settled the ball 20 yards out and fired a left footed curling shot to the right post but his effort pinged off the inside of the upright before being cleared out to deny the quick strike equalizer.

Later, Kickers defender Alex Lee stole the ball deep in Orlando territory and tore through the midfield before slotting a leading ball to Kyle Porter on the right touchline.  He eluded his mark en route to the penalty area and rocketed a shot on target but Orlando goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo smothered the effort.

With five minutes remaining in the half, Vercollone turned his mark and fed the ball to Samuel Asante who raced through the midfield.  A give and go with Spitz sprung him free on the right flank to slice a cross to the six yard box, connecting with an awaiting Jason Yeisley but his tap in from point blank range was denied by the stalwart keeper.

Minutes after the restart, Orlando doubled the score when a poor clearance out of the back was intercepted, freeing Ramos on the right sideline.  Trotting towards the box, he centered the ball to Dennis Chin, who laid it off for Molino to chip a lofted ball just under the crossbar.

The visitors' celebrations were short-lived; however, as the Kickers answered back seconds later when Görres received the ball on the wing and played a through ball to Davis deep on the left side.  Beating his mark into the box, he fired a laser shot to the far upper 90 to cut the deficit in half.

With an equalizer looming, Orlando increased their lead in the 70th minute after drawing a free kick in the midfield.  Moving the ball up the field, Mbengue played the ball back to Chin who sought out an unmarked Ramos at the left touch line.  The swift midfielder carried the ball into the box and beat Kickers goalkeeper Ryan Taylor to the near post, wrapping a bending ball around the upright.

The Kickers retaliated once more eight minutes later when Görres battled for the ball and fed a low pass through to Davis.  Davis squared the ball for second half substitute Nate Robinson, lurking at the penalty spot, who calmly tapped home the club's second goal of the night.

Despite the late-game pressure and a flurry of fouls, the Kickers could not level the score inside the final 10 minutes as Orlando stole all three points at City Stadium.

The Richmond Kickers conclude the 2014 regular season with a three-game road trip, first travelling west for a pair of games against the Orange County Blues and LA Galaxy II before a rematch against Orlando City on September 6.  Guaranteed home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs, the Kickers return to City Stadium on Saturday, September 13.

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