RICHMOND, VA – The Richmond Kickers earned three points Saturday night with a dramatic 4-1 win over the Rochester Rhinos. A crowd of 2,270 saw a pair of red card ejections in between a barrage of goals as Rochester was forced to play two-men down after earning an early lead on a Matt Luzunaris tally. The Kickers retaliated with four unanswered goals as Mike Callahan, Joseph Ngwenya, Jason Yeisley and Stanley Nyazamba led the Kickers to their second consecutive victory at City Stadium.
The Rhinos claimed the lead inside the first three minutes of the opening whistle when Luzunaris stole the ball at midfield and carried it down the left wing on a breakaway, taking on Kickers goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra 1v1. As Dykstra charged off his line to challenge the streaking forward, Luzunaris swiftly drove a low ball into the far right corner.
Searching for the equalizer six minutes later, defender Sascha Görres threaded the ball through a crowded midfield, connecting with Brian Ownby who served a long ball over the Rhinos back line to find Nate Robinson deep on the left flank. The Kickers newcomer delivered the ball to the far post, finding Jason Yeisley in the air but the forward’s header soared just wide.
A physical battle ensued in the midfield until the 37th minute when Robinson sent a long throw in from the left wing to Vercollone stationed at the top of the box. The Kickers veteran laid the ball off to an onrushing Callahan who one-timed a dipping ball on target but Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht leapt to tip the bar just over the crossbar.
The pair teamed up once more with seconds remaining in the half and this time were not to be denied when Robinson played a well placed cross in the penalty area as Callahan ran onto the ball and blasted it from point blank range for his first-ever goal in a Kickers uniform.
Minutes after the restart, the Kickers regained the advantage when Ngwenya was taken down in the box. As defender George Kyriasis was shown a red card, Ngwenya calmly stepped up to the spot and made no mistake as he buried the resulting penalty.
Later, Robinson attempted to get on the scoreboard himself but his ill-fated strike towards the far post was just wide in the 60th minute. Then, six minutes later he received the ball from Görres at the left corner and eluded defenders as he made way toward the box. Evading his final mark, he fired from close range to the far post, finding Yeisley who tapped it over the line.
The Rhinos were dealt another blow soon after, when midfielder Tyler Roselund was ejected following a dangerous tackle, leaving Rochester with nine men for the final 15 minutes of regulation.
The home side capitalized on the two-man advantage when Nyazamba registered the Kickers fourth goal of the night, seconds after entering the match. Midfielder Luke Vercollone received the ball at the top of the box and played it wide to Nyazamba who buried the ball into the far corner.
After a week off, the Kickers embark on their first road trip of the season when they face the Wilmington Hammerheads at Legion Stadium on Friday, May 3 before returning to City Stadium 24 hours later to host the Charlotte Eagles on Saturday, May 4. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
Richmond 1 3 4
Rhinos 1 0 1
3rd minute: Rochester: Matt Luzunaris
45th minute: Richmond: Mike Callahan (Nate Robinson)
50th minute: Richmond: Joseph Ngwenya (Penalty)
66th minute: Richmond: Jason Yeisley (Nate Robinson)
84th minute: Richmond: Stanley Nyazamba (Luke Vercollone)
Kickers: GK Andrew Dykstra, Sascha Görres, William Yomby, Conor Shanosky, Alex Lee (Juan Arbelaez – 43’), Luke Vercollone, Mike Callahan (Henry Kalungi – 83’), Nate Robinson (Joseph Haboush – 83’), Joseph Ngwenya (Philippe Davies – 83’), Brian Ownby (Stanley Nyazamba – 83’), Jason Yeisley
Rhinos: GK Kristian Nicht, George Kyriasis, Troy Roberts, Bilal Duckett, Michael Tanke (Kendell McFayden – 40’), Gabe Latigue (Tyler Polak – 52’), Tyler Rosenlund, Lance Rozenboom, Danny Earls, Blake Brettschneider (Lucas Fernandez – 73’), Matt Luzunaris (Tam McManus – 73’)
Shots Saves Fouls Corners
Rhinos: 6 Rhinos: 4 Rhinos: 8 Rhinos: 0
Kickers: 12 Kickers: 2 Kickers: 5 Kickers: 9
28th minute: Danny Earls (Rochester)
55th minute: Blake Brettschneider (Rochester)
87th minute: Lucas Fernandez (Rochester)
50th minute: George Kyriasis (Rochester)
76th minute: Tyler Roselund (Rochester)
Referee: Charles Carson
Assistant Referees: James Brooks, Matthew Nelson
Fourth Official: Patrick Rosas
Weather: Party cloudy, breezy, 60º