CHARLOTTE, NC – The Richmond Kickers suffered a hard-fought 2-1 loss to the Charlotte Eagles on the road Saturday night. Taking an early lead on a Michael Seaton tally, the Kickers conceded the equalizer in the second half before Jorge Herrera’s last minute game winner stole three points for the home side.
After a 6th minute shot by Kickers midfielder George Davis IV pulled just wide, the Eagles pressed for an opening goal, crowding the Kickers’ box with consecutive corner kicks. However, Charlotte could not break through the Kickers back line until the 29th minute when Richard Dixon delivered a throw in deep on the right flank. A poor clearance was intercepted by Owusu Sekyere at the top of the box, who slotted the ball through traffic to an awaiting Drew Yates at the penalty spot but the Eagles midfielder was denied by a diving Ryan Taylor.
Weathering the early offensive pressure, the Kickers broke the ice in the 32nd minute when midfielder Collin Martin stole the ball in the midfield and slotted a leading pass to Christiano Francois, streaking down the right touchline. The swift midfielder burst into the box and ripped a shot to the near post that forced Eagles goalkeeper Doug Herrick to leap into action. Tipping the ball against the crossbar, he teed up the rebound that a lurking Michael Seaton buried at the back post.
Minutes later, a shift in momentum saw a give and go between Davis and Samuel Asante move the ball down the field, springing a heavily marked Asante free inside the 18 but the midfielder’s rocket shot was parried away by Herrick.
Herrick was called upon once more before the break when Davis played a square ball to Seaton at the top of the box. Taking one touch, the 17-year old forward set his sights on the near post but could not get the best of the Eagles goalkeeper a second time to send the visitors into the locker room with a narrow advantage.
Following the intermission, the Eagles quickly leveled the score inside the first 10 minutes of the second half when a long ball from the left side was flicked on to Yates at the edge of the box. The Charlotte playmaker served the ball back to the penalty spot where an onrushing Guzman one-timed it into the back of the net.
Looking to regain the lead in the 62nd minute, Martin delivered a well-placed cross from the left wing, finding an unmarked Luke Vercollone on the right side of the box. Herrick dove to his right to block the resulting shot, while a prowling Francois attempted to finish the rebound.
Soon after, Eagles defender Tyler Newnam’s free kick found second half substitute Giuseppe Gentile on the left wing. Under pressure, he carried the ball to the penalty area but his determined shot whizzed inches past the right post.
Then, in the waning seconds of regulation, Eagles midfielder Olutolani Ibikunle delivered a throw in from the left endline across the box, finding Yates who played the ball back to Herrera 18 yards out. The veteran midfielder’s lofted ball took a fortuitous deflection that dipped just under the crossbar to send the Kickers home empty handed.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
Charlotte 0 2 2
Richmond 1 0 1
31st minute: Richmond: Michael Seaton (Christiano Francois)
54th minute: Charlotte: Juan Guzman (Drew Yates)
90th minute: Charlotte: Jorge Herrera (Drew Yates)
Eagles: GK Doug Herrick, Tyler Newnam, Bilal Duckett, Richard Dixon (Olutolani Ibikunle – 86’), Matt Gold, Owusu Sekyere, Drew Yates, Juan Guzman, David Geno (Giuseppe Gentile – 45’), Zak Boggs (Tyrone Hall – 86’), Jorge Herrera
Kickers: GK Ryan Taylor, Taylor Kemp (Sascha Görres – 89’), Henry Kalungi, William Yomby (Shane Johnson – 89’), Alex Lee, Luke Vercollone, George Davis IV, Samuel Asante, Christiano Francois (Shay Spitz – 75’), Collin Martin, Michael Seaton (Matthew Delicate – 87’)
Shots Saves Fouls Corners
Kickers: 14 Kickers: 7 Kickers: 12 Kickers: 2
Eagles: 8 Eagles: 2 Eagles: 10 Eagles: 9
48th minute – Samuel Asante (Richmond)
90th minute – Giuseppe Gentile (Charlotte)
Referee: Mark Kadlecik
Assistant Referees: Clive Edwards, Gustavo Solorio
Fourth Official: Larry Williams
Weather: Sunny, 77º