In front of a crowd of over 3,900 at City Stadium, the Richmond Kickers (2-4-2) played to a scoreless draw against the Harrisburg City Islanders (2-3-2) Saturday evening, despite a number of scoring chances by the Kickers’ offense throughout the match’s 90 minutes of play.
Harrisburg worked early to get on the scoreboard with a pair of chances during the opening ten minutes of the first half, the first of which occurring moments after the opening kickoff.
During the first minute of play, the City Islanders made their first challenge on the Richmond goal, as a seeking through ball made it into the Kickers’ penalty box, finding forward Cardel Benbow in the middle as he attempted to fire a first-time shot on goal while under pressure from the Kickers defense.
Richmond was able to retrieve the ball and make a clearance to reduce the early offensive pressure of Harrisburg.
The City Islanders would resume their offensive efforts later in the ninth minute as forward Pedro Ribeiro was able to gain possession of the ball just outside the Kickers’ 18-yard box as Richmond’s defense surrounded. Ribeiro was able to dish the ball to midfielder Jonny Mendoza who was waiting in the center of the Kickers’ penalty box to fire a quick first-time shot that ended up going wide to the left of diving Richmond goalkeeper Matt Turner and out of play for a goal kick.
Richmond worked to respond to Harrisburg’s early attack with offense of their own during the 19th minute as the Kickers moved the ball into the City Islanders’ defensive zone, eventually getting the ball to defender Braeden Troyer on the left side. Troyer sent the ball over to teammate and midfielder Yudai Imura before retrieving it for a second time and firing a through ball to forward Sunny Jane on the run who fired a quick ground shot that rolled just wide of the Harrisburg net and goalkeeper Brandon Miller.
Later during the 31st minute, the Kickers continued their offensive push following a free kick just beyond the midway point of the pitch as midfielder Fred Owusu Sekyere made a quick pass to fellow midfielder Imura as Richmond worked their way into Harrisburg’s 18-yard box. Imura dished a ground pass through the City Islanders’ defense, finding forward Alhaji Kamara, who drove into Harrisburg’s penalty box and fired a shot on goalkeeper Miller, who was able to deflect the ball away from goal with his knees, keeping the game scoreless as the match entered the final minutes of the first half.
Both sides worked to get the advantage during the one minute of stoppage time but neither was able to tally a goal before the end of the first 45 minutes of play, keeping the match scoreless for both clubs.
Richmond’s offense opened the second half on the attack with a number of chances as play resumed, including an opportunity during the 61st minute as midfielder Owusu played the ball over to fellow midfielder Finnlay Wyatt before sending an aerial ball into the Harrisburg box, finding defender Mallan Roberts, who directed it toward goal with his head but the shot went just wide of the goal frame and out of play.
Ten minutes later, the Kickers surged toward the City Islanders’ defending zone as midfielder Samuel Asante brought the ball forward before handing it off to midfield partner Wyatt as he drove to the top of Harrisburg’s 18-yard box, allowing him to send a ground pass to forward Kamara, who worked to redirect the shot toward goal, but it would go just wide of City Islanders goalkeeper Miller and out of bounds, keeping the game scoreless as the final ten minutes of the match approached.
The 89th minute saw Richmond defender Alex Lee find time and space to send an aerial ball toward Harrisburg’s goal in an attempt to give the Kickers a lead and the first goal of the night, reaching the City Islanders’ goalkeeper, who worked to shut down Richmond’s offensive attack but the ball found midfielder Jackson Eskay in the center of Harrisburg’s 18-yard box, allowing him to make a quick pass to forward Anthony Grant who attempted to take a shot on goal, but had the ball cleared away by the City Islanders’ defense, negating the scoring threat.
Three minutes of stoppage time saw both goalkeepers maintain their clean sheets into the final whistle as the Kickers would play to a scoreless draw against the City Islanders in their second of three meetings during the 2017 USL season.
The Richmond Kickers now turn their attention to the start of a three-game road trip beginning Sunday, May 21 as the Kickers face off against the Rochester Rhinos at Capelli Sport Stadium.
The Kickers will return to City Stadium in USL action on Saturday, June 3 as they take on New York Red Bulls II during a 7 p.m. matchup. You can snag tickets to that game here!