RICHMOND, VA – The Richmond Kickers defeated their long-time USL PRO rivals Charlotte Eagles 2-0 Saturday night. Midfielder George Davis IV converted a pair of free kicks while goalkeeper Joe Willis posted his second shutout in as many games to extend the Kickers’ undefeated streak to eight overall.
Charlotte pressured the Kickers back line directly after kickoff and nearly claimed an early advantage when midfielder Fred Sekyere played David Geno in behind the defense. Geno fed the ball back to Tyrone Hall who laid it off to Wells Thompson who wound up a shot from 12 yards but his point blank attempt was deflected wide.
Later, Kickers all-time leading scorer Matthew Delicate tested Eagles goalkeeper Brock Duckworth twice in a span of 10 minutes. First, in the 28th minute, Alex Lee played the ball back to an onrushing Samuel Asante who blasted a rocket into the box, picking out Delicate at the penalty spot but Duckworth smothered his flick on header.
Eight minutes later, Kickers defender William Yomby played a long ball from his own half, searching for Jason Yeisley in the box. Before it could reach its target, the ball was cleared out to the top of the 18 where a lurking Delicate turned and ripped a determined shot, forcing Duckworth to drop low to deny his lightning strike.
The Kickers broke the ice in the 39th minute when Davis slotted a leading ball to defender Sascha Görres, racing down the left touchline. Cutting in towards the box, the Kickers veteran was sandwiched between two defenders, drawing a foul inches from the top of the 18. Davis stepped up for the dangerously-placed free kick and bent a curling ball around the defensive wall, tucking it just inside the near post to give the home side a first half lead.
With less than two minutes remaining in the first 45, the Eagles nearly leveled the score when Thompson collected the ball 20 yards out and played it wide to Richard Dixon on the right edge of the box. The defender played a square pass back to a heavily marked Thompson who picked up a deflected ball and rattled the woodwork with a rocket shot from 10 yards.
The Kickers doubled their lead just past the hour mark when Davis stole the ball in Eagles territory and played it wide to Lee on the right flank. The Kickers defender whipped a cross into the box, but could not connect with Spitz stationed in the penalty area as the ball was cleared out. Görres latched on to the poor clearance and carried it through traffic but was brought down just as he approached the box. Davis stepped up for resulting free kick and drove a low swerving ball around the defensive wall, slotting his second goal of the night just under the crouching keeper.
Trailing by two goals with 15 minutes remaining, the Eagles were awarded a pair of free kicks 30 yards out. Veteran midfielder Jorge Herrera first lofted ball hooked just wide before Kickers goalkeeper Joe Willis denied his second chance to preserve his clean sheet.
Charlotte will return to action on Wednesday, May 28th in Raleigh, NC against the Carolina Railhawks in 4th round US Open Cup action. The Eagles will return to Queens Sports Complex on Saturday, May 31st as the Wilmington Hammerheads will come to town.