Friday, July 27, 2012 Charlotte Christian Stadium
Charlotte Eagles 1 (Roberts 80’)
Richmond Kickers 0
CHARLOTTE, NC – Following an hour and fifteen minute lightning delay, the Richmond Kickers suffered a 1-0 loss to the Charlotte Eagles Friday night, conceding an 80th minute goal during the first leg of a grueling 24-hour home and away series.
Threatening throughout the match, forward Darryl Roberts broke the ice 10 minutes from regulation when he connected on a Mark Bloom cross. Winning the ball in the air, his well-placed header snuck just inside the far post and narrowly avoided the outstretched fingertips of Kickers goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale.
The match remained scoreless throughout the first half as both the Kickers and the Eagles saw their best chances of the half fall by the wayside within the last 10 minutes.
Nate Thornton knocked on the Kickers doorstep several times throughout the first 45 but it was not until the 35th minute that he nearly gave his side the lead. Battling for the ball deep on the right wing, he sliced a dangerous cross through the box, hoping to connect with an onrushing Roberts, but his well-timed ball was just inches out of reach. Seconds later, midfielder Juan Guzman played a short corner back to the 18-yard line, finding Roberts who rocketed a blast on target and forced Pascale to stretch to bat the ball back into the mix. Thornton lined up the rebound shot but his close range shot was deflected wide.
After failing to capitalize on a free kick from prime scoring position at the top of the box earlier in the half, Agorsor ran onto a long ball by Sascha Görres and broke free from several defenders. He slotted a swift cross through the crowded box to Ryan Heins but his one-time strike was smothered by a well-positioned Eric Reed in the 44th minute.
The Kickers opened the second half when Gerson Dos Santos lofted a dangerous free kick into the box and a courtesy of a poor Eagles clearance, the rebound fell to Gorres on the right wing. The German midfielder switched the ball back across the field to Dos Santos who delivered the ball into the mix once more, connecting with William Yomby only to have his point blank header glance just over the crossbar.
Later, Gorres played Elcock free on the right flank and the speedy winger eluded defenders and sliced through the box. He slotted the ball across to Heins who forced Reed to reach to tip his 65th minute shot over the bar.
After Roberts gave the home side the advantage, the Kickers pressed forward and were awarded a last-second corner kick when Mike Burke’s shot was blocked by an Eagles defender but could not capitalize on the opportunity to level the score, giving Charlotte the full three points.
The Kickers and the Eagles will both travel to Richmond overnight to close out their back-to-back home and away series at Richmond City Stadium on Saturday, July 28. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. and gates open at 5:30 p.m. Arrive early and enjoy food from Richmond’s legendary food trucks at the stadium. Tickets are just $5.00 before 6:30 p.m. and can be ordered in advance at RichmondKickers.com.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
Charlotte 0 1 1
Richmond 0 0 0
80th minute: Charlotte: Daryl Roberts (Mark Bloom)
Eagles: GK Eric Reed, Josh Rife, Devon Grousis, Mark Bloom (Ben Page – 81’), Cheyne Roberts, Nate Thornton (Jorge Herrera – 66’), Joe Kabwe (Miguel Ferrer – 66’), Juan Guzman, Darren Toby, Darryl Roberts, Mauricio Salles (Brad Stisser – 66’)
Kickers: GK Ronnie Pascale, William Yomby, Shane Johnson (Nozomi Hiroyama – 86’), Jason Yeisley (Mike Callahan – 58’), Henry Kalungi, Luke Vercollone, Gerson Dos Santos (Philippe Davies – 86’), Sascha Görres, Ryan Heins, Edson Elcock (Mike Burke – 73’), Christopher Agorsor (Matthew Delicate – 58’)
Shots Saves Fouls Corners
Kickers: 7 Kickers: 2 Kickers: 5 Kickers: 3
Eagles: 6 Eagles: 4 Eagles: 5 Eagles: 6
23rd minute: Devon Grousis (Charlotte)
51st minute: Daryl Roberts (Charlotte)
Referee: Matthew Jozaitis
Assistant Referees: Mark Buda, Ryan Starr
Fourth Official: James Boswell
Weather: Thunderstorms early, then clear, 92º