Richmond Kickers 1, North Carolina Fusion U23 0
RICHMOND, Va. — (Wednesday, April 20, 2022) — Emiliano Terzaghi’s 118th-minute go-ahead goal sent the Richmond Kickers to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Round of 32 as the Reds took a 1-0 thriller over North Carolina Fusion U23 at City Stadium, Wednesday night.
Terzaghi’s first goal in the competition came at a moment when a penalty shootout was imminent. Chris Cole launched a ball into the box that was deflected by Nathan Aune. A Fusion defender got to the deflected ball first, but Dakota Barnathan was able to gain possession and dribbled towards the backline before hitting a precision cross to Terzaghi who waited at the near post.
Terzaghi flicked the ball with his head and it was initially deflected by the keeper but the ball dropped directly at their feet and a quick flick from Terzaghi’s left foot got to the ball before the keeper could, and the Argentine stormed off to celebrate the winner with his teammates and City Stadium faithful.
The late-game heroics in extra time extended the Kickers’ unbeaten streak at City Stadium to 16 straight matches. And those heroics were necessary against a tenacious and accomplished Fusion side that were the USL League Two runner ups last season.
Following a dramatic 4-2 win against USL League One side Charlotte Independence during the Open Cup second round, Fusion showed up to City Stadium ready to match the Kickers’ intensity and proved once again why the Open Cup is such a special competition.
The match was a back-and-forth affair with possession slightly in the Kickers’ favor. However, the visitors did well to hit on the counter and string together a sustained attack. On the defensive end, Aune, who wore the captain’s armband during the first half, kept the defense tight while Will Palmquist commanded the box in his first start between the pipes.
As the match wore on, it became a more disjointed affair as the number of fouls and yellow cards called really chopped up the flow of play. Yet, the Kickers had two chances in the second half that for a moment looked to give them the advantage in real-time.
In the 56th minute, Leonardo Baima flicked a perfect pass to Stuart Ritchie on the left side and full back caught the ball on the volley, launching a screamer towards goal that ricocheted off the bottom of the crossbar but bounced back into play instead of in the net. In the 78th minute, Vinyals would find himself in a position similar to Ritchie earlier, and the Spaniard caught a volley perfectly that was put on target with so much pace the keeper could only deflect it over the crossbar.
Palmquist put an exclamation point on his debut in the 87th minute to save the match. Fusion’s Steven Hernandez-Mortimer found himself one-on-one with Palmquist, but the goalkeeper stood firm on his line before making a diving save to stop Fusion’s best goal-scoring chance of the night.
With the Kickers advancing to the Round of 32, they will be drawn in the South group alongside three MLS sides in Nashville SC, Atlanta United FC, and Charlotte FC. The draw will take place at 12 p.m. on Thursday, April 21.