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DEFENDING CHAMPS UPSET IN USL2 FINAL

By Admin, 08/25/07, 2:00PM EDT

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Outcome Decided By Penalties

Saturday, August 25, 2007  University of Richmond Stadium
Richmond Kickers                          1  (Schramm 75’)
Harrisburg City Islanders              1  (Ombiji 45’)

Harrisburg wins championship 8-7 in nine rounds of penalty kicks

RICHMOND, VA – The defending USL2 Champions Richmond Kickers were upset tonight by the Harrisburg City Islanders in the 2007 USL Second Division final on a steamy summer night in Richmond.  A 1-1 stalemate in regulation led to 30 minutes of overtime, followed by nine rounds of nail-biting penalty kicks.  Harrisburg took a first half lead with a Brian Ombiji strike in the 45th minute with Richmond rounding out regulation with a 75th minute tally by forward Ricky Schramm.  Two 15-minute overtime periods were not enough to determine a champion, forcing the shoot-out.  Each goalkeeper made a save during the first five rounds and the score was finalized when City Islanders defender Ryan Pierce converted his chance and Kickers defender Evan Harding just glanced the woodwork.

The Kickers opened the attack in the 8th minute when forward Nowaf Jaman fed a through ball to forward David Bulow.  Open on the left corner of the six-yard box, Bulow curled a low strike towards the far post but it narrowly missed the target.

Harrisburg created their first dangerous chance in the 20th minute when forward Mo Oduor played a short cross into the box from the right side.  The ball was turned and redirected to 2007 Rookie of the Year Finalist Brian Ombiji at the penalty spot but his low strike was gathered by Kickers netminder Ronnie Pascale.  Seconds later, forward Steve Fisher recovered the ball and carried it down the right channel.  His right-footed strike hammered the near post and fell to side netting.

As the first half whistle loomed, Bulow laid the ball off to midfielder Sascha Görres.  Pressured by the last defender, he closed in on Nelson, deep on the left side but his tough-angled shot was stifled by Nelson.

The City Islanders took the lead seconds before the end of the half when midfield David Schofield traveled down the right channel and fed a low, sharp cross to Ombiji inside the six-yard box.  Ombiji one-timed a low but determined ball and Pascale was unable to get a handle on the bobbling ball as it slipped just inside the near post.

Out of the gate in the second half, Jaman looked dangerous on the left side and attempted a close range strike from deep in the box but his left-footed missile was smothered by Nelson.  Not long after, Fisher found Oduor on the left side.  Oduor redirected a laser but his rising ball was collected by a reaching Pascale.

Four minutes later, Richmond was awarded a free kick and USL2 MVP Mike Burke lined up the shot.  His 25-yard strike rose over the defensive wall and dipped just wide left of the target.  The 65th minute found the Kickers in possession again as Görres stole the ball and played it forward to Bulow.  Bulow settled the ball and drove a resolute shot from 20-yards, but it sailed just wide right.

The deficit was closed in the 75th minute when rookie forward Ricky Schramm netted the equalizer soon after entering the match.  The ball was played into the box, finding Burke with his back to the ball.  He back-heeled the ball to Schramm at the penalty spot and he ripped a determined strike into the back of the net.

Looking for the tiebreaker, the City Islanders took advantage of a corner kick awarded in their favor in the 78th minute.  The in-swinger was cleared out of the box and played wide to Morman who hammered a shot from 20 yards, just over the woodwork.

A last minute effort by the Kickers came in the 90th minute when Görres carried the ball across the top of the box and hammered a left-footer but it was deflected, pushing the game into overtime.

With few chances in the first overtime period, the game-winner seemed destined in the 115th minute when Schramm battled to intercept a cross in the air, laying the header off to Görres, 16 yards out.  He one-timed a volley, breaking through the defense but Nelson barely got his fingertips on the laser and pushed it wide to preserve the tie. 

As the only tiebreaker remaining, penalty kicks ensued with each team lining up for the best-of-five.  The first five shooters buried their shots and Nelson made a save on Ihor Dotsenko’s strike.  With the result hanging in the balance, Pascale made a valiant leaping save on Anthony Calvano’s chance to keep the score level.  As the rounds progressed to sudden death, Marty Johnston, Adam Clay, David Schofield and Ryan Pierce found the back of the net for Harrisburg while Ralph Pace, Steven Wolfe and Ronnie Pascale converted for Richmond.  The champion was determined when Richmond defender Evan Harding’s ninth round strike hammered the crossbar.


Box Score      First Half     Second Half    OT1    OT2     Final
Richmond              0                        1               0         0           1
Harrisburg             1                         0              0         0           1

Scoring Summary
45th minute: Harrisburg: Brian Ombiji (David Schofield)
75th minute: Richmond: Ricky Schramm (Mike Burke)

Penalties
1 Harrisburg: Nate Baker (Goal)
   Richmond: David Bulow (Goal)
2 Harrisburg: Mike Lookingland (Goal)
   Richmond: Sascha Görres (Goal)
3 Harrisburg: Tim Velten (Goal)
   Richmond: Ihor Dotsenko (Save)
4 Harrisburg: Anthony Calvano (Save)
   Richmond: Ricky Schramm (Goal)
5 Harrisburg: Dustin Bixler (Goal)
   Richmond: Charlie Howe (Goal)
6 Harrisburg: Marty Johnston (Goal)
   Richmond: Ralph Pace (Goal)
7 Harrisburg: Adam Clay (Goal)
   Richmond: Steven Wolfe (Goal)
8 Harrisburg: David Schofield (Goal) 
   Richmond: Ronnie Pascale (Goal)
9 Harrisburg: Ryan Pierce (Goal) 
   Richmond: Evan Harding (Miss)

Lineups
Kickers
: GK Ronnie Pascale, Kelvin Jones, Trevor McEachron, Stephen Wolfe, Evan Harding, Mike Burke (Freddie Smith – 85’ (Ralph Pace – 118th)), Matt Watson (Charlie Howe – 115th), Trey Alexander (Ihor Dotsenko - 70’), Sascha Görres, David Bulow, Nowaf Jaman (Ricky Schramm – 57’)
City Islanders: GK Matt Nelson, Ryan Pierce, Dustin Bixler, Tim Velten, Anthony Calvano, Chris Morman (Nate Baker – 98’), Brian Devlin (Matt Tanzini – 72’), Mo Oduor (Mike Lookingland – 66’), David Schofield, Brian Ombiji (Marty Johnston – 76’), Steve Fisher (Adam Clay – 92’)


Shots                         Saves                        Fouls                          Corners
City Islanders: 12    City Islanders: 3      City Islanders: 29     City Islanders: 5
Kickers:            10     Kickers:            2      Kickers             13     Kickers:  7


Cautions:
31st minute: Chris Morman (Harrisburg)
58th minute: David Schofield (Harrisburg)
67th minute: David Bulow (Richmond)
100st minute: Dustin Bixler (Harrisburg)
103th minute: Sascha Görres (Richmond)
113th minute: David Bulow (Richmond)

Ejections
None.

Referee:    Mark Kadlecik
Assistant Referees:   Bill Dittmar, Guy Goodrich
Fourth Official:    Robert Velbis
Attendance:    3,488 
Weather:    Hot, sunny, 95º

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