BEAVERCREEK, OH – The Richmond Kickers snapped the Dayton Dutch Lions’ 10-game unbeaten streak with a hard-fought 3-2 win at Beavercreek High School Saturday night. The end-to-end action saw Brandon Swartzendruber give the Dutch Lions a 4th minute lead, which they carried through the first 45 minutes until a pair of Luke Vercollone tallies, followed by a Michael Seaton goal put the Kickers on top in the second half. Dayton defender Greg Preciado pulled a goal back with three minutes remaining in regulation but the Kickers defense shut down the home side’s late-game attack to extend their undefeated streak to 15 games and put them within a point of league-leading Orlando City at the top of the USL PRO table.
With their unbeaten stretch on the line, the Dutch Lions jumped out to an early lead when midfielder Gibson Bardsley swept through the midfield, stole the ball and darted towards the box. He laid off a square ball to Swartzendruber who was making a parallel run down the right flank, playing him in 1v1 with Kickers goalkeeper, Ryan Jones. As Jones came off his line to challenge, the swift Dutch Lions forward buried a low ball into the far left corner.
The home side continued their offensive pressure until the 17th minute when the Kickers saw their first opportunity to level the score. Midfielder Nate Robinson sent an inswinging corner into the box, connecting with Jason Yeisley at the penalty spot but his marksman’s lunging header soared just wide of the target.
Later, the Dutch Lions saw two dangerous chances thwarted within a 60-second span when Eli Garner and Bardsley teamed up in the 33rd minute. Heavily marked on the left wing, Garner controlled the ball and slotted it through traffic but came up a foot short of his target as Bardsley could not reach in time as the cross skimmed past the upright. Seconds later, Garner intercepted the ball on the right wing and fed it through to Bardsley but this time, Jones was not to be deceived, as the Kickers 6’6” keeper smothered the ball at his feet.
The Kickers retaliated four minutes later when a long ball down the right flank was deflected out to Michael Callahan who played a through ball to Yeisley at the top of the box but the midfielder’s gritty strike was read by Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams who parried it over the endline.
Looking to level the score before the halftime break, the Kickers attempted to capitalize on a free kick 30 yards out. Defender Sascha Görres served the ball to the far post, but Yeisley’s header was directed astray, sending the visitors into the locker room trailing 1-0.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Kickers took the wind out of the Dutch Lions’ sails when Robinson took control of the ball at the top of the box and drew defenders wide before centering the ball for an unmarked Seaton just inside the 18. As the 17-year old forward lined up his point blank shot, he was taken down by Preciado and Vercollone made no mistake on the resulting spot kick.
The tides turned with the decisive penalty and the Kickers gained the lead in the 59th minute when Yeisley delivered a powerful throw in from the left wing into a teeming box. Williams flew off his line to punch the ball from harm’s way but his poor clearance fell directly to Vercollone who volleyed home his second goal of the night.
The Kickers broadened their lead in the 71st minute when Görres delivered a long ball down the left channel, finding Seaton deep in Dutch Lions territory. Taking a touch around his defender, he cut inside but his shot from 16 yards out took a wicked deflection that left Williams off balance as the ball met the far right corner.
The Dutch Lions regrouped and pulled a goal back just before the end of regulation when the ball pinged around in a flurry of activity in the Kickers box before eventually falling to a well-placed Garner on the right edge. With time to spare, he settled the ball and lofted it into the swarming box before Preciado, stationed at the six yard box, nodded the rebound into the back of the net.
With six minutes of stoppage time on their side, the Dutch Lions nearly leveled the score when a long throw in from the right side met all 11 Dayton players in the box but their last-gasp effort skimmed just over the bar to send the Kickers home with three points.
The Kickers continue their month-long road swing with a back-to-back trip next week when they travel to the Rochester Rhinos on Friday, July 12 and the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday, July 13. Both matches will be available live from Sahlen’s Stadium and Skyline Sports Complex at 7:35 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively on USLnation.com.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
Dayton 1 1 2
Richmond 0 3 3
4th minute: Dayton - Brandon Swartzendruber (Gibson Bardsley)
56th minute: Richmond - Luke Vercollone (Penalty)
59th minute: Richmond - Luke Vercollone (Jason Yeisley)
71st minute: Richmond - Michael Seaton (Sascha Görres)
87th minute: Dayton – Greg Preciado (Joe Madigan)
Dutch Lions: GK Matt Williams, Brock Granger, Gregory Preciado, Matt Wyatt, Shane Smith (Joe Broekhuizen – 82’), Joel DeLass, Shintaro Harada, Irakli Khutsidze (Joey Madigan – 74’), Gibson Bardsley, Eli Garner, Brandon Swartzendruber (Tjeerd Westdijk – 67’)
Kickers: GK Ryan Jones, Luke Vercollone, William Yomby, Henry Kalungi, Alex Lee, Sascha Görres, Joseph Ngwenya (Matthew Delicate – 84’), Nate Robinson (Juan Arbelaez – 84’), Mike Callahan, Jason Yeisley, Michael Seaton
Saves Fouls Corners
Kickers: 12 Kickers: 3 Kickers: 8 Kickers: 2
Dutch Lions: 10 Dutch Lions: 5 Dutch Lions: 10 Dutch Lions: 3
40th minute: Eli Garner (Dayton)
47th minute: Alex Lee (Richmond)
80th minute: Tjeerd Westdijk (Dayton)
Assistant Referees: Justin Grider, Kyle Maust