Saturday, April 4, 2009 Sports Backers Stadium
Richmond Kickers 1 (Delicate 90’)
Carolina RailHawks 0
RICHMOND, VA – The Richmond Kickers opened the 2009 season with a 1-0 victory against the USL First Division side Carolina RailHawks in front of a crowd of nearly 2,000. Kickers forward Matthew Delicate celebrated his return to Richmond with a 90th minute game-winner. Goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale’s gallant efforts in the net earned the Kickers a clean sheet and a victory to kickoff the 2009 campaign. The regular season opens in two weeks when the Kickers host the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday, April 18th. Returning to the University of Richmond Stadium, the game kicks off at 7:00 p.m.
The Kickers applied pressure early with a 9th minute attempt by midfielder Luke Vercollone. After eluding a RailHawks defender at the top of the box, the speedy midfielder cut inside and fired just wide of the target.
The RailHawks had a close call twenty minutes later when a cross was sent into the box. Midfielder Joseph Kabwe’s low header was destined for the left post but Kickers goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale leaped to push the ball wide.
The back-and-forth affair continued in the 35th minute when Richmond midfielder Ben Hunter fed the ball through to forward Matthew Delicâte who got behind the defense. His low strike from 12 yards headed towards the near post but found side netting.
Pascale was forced to take action again minutes later when Josh Gardner delivered a dangerous cross into the box from the left flank. A wide open Jack Stewart fired a header from six yards out but Pascale made a heroic leap to tip the ball over the bar.
Richmond retaliated four minutes later as midfielder Mike Burke collected the ball on the right side and served Delicate, positioned 12 yards out. His strike was on target but USL-2 Goalkeeper of the Year, Eric Reed collected the ball after a deflection slowed the momentum.
As the second half kicked off, Burke played the ball to Delicâte who carried the ball down the right sideline. Delicate switched the ball across to Vercollone, who played a one-touch pass to David Bulow in scoring position at the left corner of the penalty box. He attempted to curl the ball into the goal but instead it sailed just inches over the crossbar.
Gardner created a good combination in the 67th minute, leaving Brian Plotkin one-on-one with Pascale. Instead of shooting, he saw Gavin Glinton, open on the right side, in front of an empty net. Before he could line up the shot, a streaking Sascha Görres rushed to the rescue and toe-poked the ball out of harm’s way.
With just 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the RailHawks turned up the pressure in an attempt to break the scoreless stalemate. First, Carolina midfielder Daniel Paladini collected a loose ball, 25 yards out and unleashed a rocket in the 84th minute that rattled the crossbar. Minutes later, Glinton connected on a cross into the box but his header from six yards was stopped by Pascale. The Kickers goalkeeper scooped up a third shot in the 89th minute, this time from a difficult angle, deep on the left side.
Despite the RailHawks best efforts, it was the Kickers who broke the ice in the final minute of the match. Görres put a well-placed cross into the space between the defenders and the goalkeeper. An on-rushing Delicate had no problem tapping the ball into the open left corner from close range.
Stoppage time saw Carolina retaliate with a forceful attack as they sought the equalizer. A scramble in the box allowed midfielder Amir Lowery to launch a powerful shot from 25 yards out but his efforts ricocheted off the right post. The rebound found Plotkin in the air but his header sailed wide of the target.
The Kickers return to the University of Richmond Stadium (just off the Downtown Expressway) to open the 2009 regular season on Saturday, April 18th when they host the Harrisburg City Islanders at 7:00 p.m. Avoid lines at the gate and order tickets in advance via RichmondKickers.com.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
Richmond 0 1 1
Carolina 0 0 0
90th minute – Matthew Delicate (Sascha Görres)
Kickers: GK Ronnie Pascale, Sascha Görres, Kelvin Jones (Fabian Dawkins – 45’), Henry Kalungi, Kenny Cutler (Ross MacKenzie – 87’), Luke Vercollone (Pat Viray – 87’), Gerson Dos Santos, Ben Hunter, David Bulow (Joey Worthen – 62’), Mike Burke (Trey Brown – 62’), Matthew Delicâte
RailHawks: GK Eric Reed (Caleb Patterson-Sewell – 45’), Devon McKenney, Mark Schulte, Jack Stewart, John Gilkerson, Amir Lowery, Joseph Kabwe (Brian Plotkin – 65’), Kupono Low (Daniel Paladini – 34’), Luke Kreamalmeyer (Gavin Glinton – 62’), Andre Budney (Sallieu Bundu – 58’), Josh Gardner (Aaron King – 85’)
Shots Saves Fouls Corners
RailHawks: 8 RailHawks: 2 RailHawks: 12 RailHawks: 5
Kickers: 6 Kickers: 4 Kickers: 11 Kickers: 1
Referee: Andy Chapin
Assistant Referees: Mike Andrews, Shawn Fitch
Fourth Official: Charles Carson
Weather: Warm, Breezy, 64º
First Market Bank Man of the Match: Matthew Delicâte