RICHMOND, VA – (Saturday, August 25, 2012) – The Richmond Kickers were knocked out of the USLPRO playoffs Saturday night in a thrilling five-goal encounter with the visiting Wilmington Hammerheads.
Richmond dominated the early stages of the match, with Matthew Delicâte hitting the crossbar with his headed effort in the third minute. Wilmington’s starting goalkeeper Alex Horwath picked up a hamstring injury in the 7th minute, and backup keeper Troy Hernandez entered the game to earn his first minutes of the season. Delicâte earned a free kick just outside the box in the 11th minute, and Sascha Goerres provided the first test of the night for Hernandez with a curling strike around the wall. The Wilmington keeper got a hand to it, but it deflected straight to Jason Yeisley inside the six-yard box. The Richmond forward slotted his shot into the empty net to give the Kickers the early lead.
Wilmington came into the game following the goal and nearly scored with a dangerous free kick of their own in the 13th minute, but Ronnie Pascale was able to make the save. Yeisley nearly scored another goal for Richmond in the 28th minute, but his powerful header was cleared off the line by the Wilmington defense. Hagop Chirishian put a 35th minute Wilmington free kick on target, but Pascale was able to punch the shot over the bar to safety.
The Hammerheads started the second half brightly, with striker Andres Cuero testing Pascale from close range in the 47th minute, but the shot stopper was equal to the task. Edson Elcock replaced Stanley Nyazamba for the Kickers in the 54th minute, and the pacy forward nearly doubled Richmond’s lead with his 68th minute individual effort.
Wilmington countered quickly following the shot by Elcock. Substitute Steven Perry played a ball to Troy Cole at the penalty spot, and the midfielder blasted a low shot under the diving Pascale to tie the score at one apiece. Perry added a goal of his own three minutes later when Chirishian’s corner kick skipped through the crowd of players in front of the goal to the back post, where the midfielder tucked his shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The Kickers introduced Mike Burke, Nozomi Hiroyama and Christopher Agorsor after Wilmington took the 2-1 lead, and the substitutes made a positive impact in the final third for Richmond. Mike Burke curled a ball to the near post from a 79th minute corner kick, and fellow substitute Elcock snapped a header into the top corner to level the score again.
Wilmington pushed forward in waves in the final ten minutes of the match and Richmond escaped going behind in the 89th minute when Hertzog turned his shot over the crossbar from close range. Richmond appeared to have escaped the onslaught when they cleared the ball in the final minute of stoppage time, but Wilmington defender Tom Parratt kept the ball in play along the touchline. Parratt swung in a deep cross from the right side that floated over the head of Pascale and nestled into the side netting on the far side to give the Hammerheads the 3-2 victory and a place in the semi-finals. The Hammerheads will face Orlando City next Friday, August 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
Richmond 1 1 2
Wilmington 0 3 3
12th minute: Yeisley (Goerres)
69th minute: Cole (Perry)
72nd: Perry (Chirishian)
79th: Elcock (Burke)
Kickers: GK Ronnie Pascale, Shane Johnson, Yomby William, Henry Kalungi, Jason Yeisley, Gerson dos Santos (Nozomi Hiroyama 74’), Luke Vercollone, Stanley Nyazamba (Edson Elcock 55’), Sascha Goerres, Ryan Heins (Mike Burke 74’), Matthew Delicâte (Christopher Agorsor 74’)
Hammerheads: GK Alex Horwath (Troy Hernandez 6’), Tom Parratt, Gareth Evans, Tyler Lassiter, Yahaya Musa (Dylan Riley 85’), Bryce Taylor (Cody Arnoux 70’), Troy Cole, Mark Briggs (Manny Guzman 61’), Hagop Chirishian, Andres Cuero (Steven Perry 51’), Corey Hertzog
Shots Saves Fouls CornersHammerheads: 12 Hammerheads: 5 Hammerheads: 13 Hammerheads: 6
Kickers: 12 Kickers: 5 Kickers: 11 Kickers: 7
57th minute: Briggs (Wilmington)
90th minute: Guzman (Wilmington)
Referee: Charles Carson
Assistant Referees: Robert Velbis, Dean Fairweather
Fourth Official: Matthew Franz
Stadium: Richmond City Stadium