RICHMOND, VA – (Saturday, April 7, 2012) – The Richmond Kickers were unable to deliver a win on their 20th season home opener, falling to a controversial 2-1 defeat against the Charleston Battery.
Both teams took a tentative approach in the first half, opting for possession and control over outright attack, but Charleston broke the deadlock in the 41st minute after an extended period of pressure on the Richmond goal. Battery midfielder Zach Prince connected with a cross in the 40th minute, but Richmond defender Ryan Heins put his body on the line to make the block. From the resulting throw-in, Charleston defender John Wilson beat four Kickers players on a surging run to the touchline before lofting a ball into the box for Jose Cuevas. The midfielder’s looping header beat Richmond goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale and nestled into the far corner for 1-0.
The goal sparked the game to life, and Richmond nearly equalized within a minute as Matthew Delicâte’s headed shot from a Stanley Nyazamba cross beat the Battery goalkeeper but was cleared off the line by defender Kyle Hoffer. Nyazamba provided another dangerous cross in the 44th minute, but Luke Vercollone’s shot from six yards out flew just wide.
Nyazamba turned from provider to goalscorer in stoppage time in the first half, collecting a pass from Delicâte before losing his marker and curling a shot past Kevin Klasilia and into the side netting to level the score going into half time.
Richmond started the second half on the front foot, forcing Klasilia into a fine save in the 50th minute, but numerous fouls turned the momentum in Charleston’s favor. The Battery scored amid controversy in the 67th minute, when striker Salieu Bundu appeared to dribble the ball over the end line for a Richmond goal kick, but no call was made and Bundu was able to cross into the box for an onrushing Cuevas, who made no mistake from six yards out.
The Kickers mounted a strong challenge for the equalizer late in the second half, but were unable to score despite numerous chances. Michael Callahan nearly scored with the last kick of the game with a powerful volley from the top of the box, but his effort sailed over the crossbar and Charleston claimed the 2-1 victory.
Richmond will travel to Charleston for a rematch with the Battery next Saturday, April 14. The Kickers return to City Stadium on Saturday, April 21 to host defending USLPRO champions Orlando City at 7 p.m.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
Richmond 1 0 1
Charleston 1 1 2
Scoring Summary41st minute: Charleston - Cuevas (Wilson)
45th minute: Richmond – Nyazamba (Delicâte)
67th minute: Charleston – Cuevas (Bundu)
Kickers: GK Ronnie Pascale, William Yomby, Shane Johnson, Sascha Görres, Luke Vercollone, Michael Callahan, Ryan Heins (Gerson Dos Santos 78’), Edson Elcock, Stanley Nyazamba (Nozomi Hiroyama 78’), Matthew Delicâte (David Bulow 78’), Jason Yeisley
Battery: GK Kevin Klasilia, Mark Wiltse, Colin Falvey, Kyle Hoffer, John Wilson, Ryan Richter (Sean Flatley 82’), Amadou Sanyang, Zach Prince (Taylor Mueller 75’), Jose Cuevas, Nicki Paterson, Salieu Bundu (Manuel Guzman 90’)
Shots Saves Fouls Corners
Battery: 7 Battery: 3 Battery: 9 Battery: 0
Kickers: 11 Kickers: 2 Kickers: 12 Kickers: 3
70th minute: Görres (Richmond)
80th minute: Richter (Charleston)
Referee: Moo Hackett
Assistant Referees: Jimmy Brooks, Matthew Nelson
Fourth Official: Ben Hichak
Weather: 65°, clear
Stadium: Richmond City Stadium