Richmond Kickers 4, Charlotte Independence 0
|RICHMOND KICKERS||4||14′ Bryant (Bolanos), 32′ Bentley (Bolanos), 45+3′ Bryant (Bolanos), 74′ Bentley|
|CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE ||0|
RICHMOND, Va. — The Richmond Kickers (4-3-3,15 pts) earned their second win of the season against the Charlotte Independence (4-4-2, 14 pts) as they moved tentatively back into first place in the USL League One standings with two braces from Ethan Bryant and Matthew Bentley and three official assists from Jonathan Bolanos.
From the opening kick, the Roos pressed Charlotte as they set the tone early. In the first minute, Simon Fitch, in his second league start, saw an opening on the left side, looked to goal and shot the ball, but it went just over the crossbar.
The opportunities increased in danger as Bryant hit an out-swinging corner kick to find Jalen Crisler who volleyed on target, forcing a save from the keeper in the 11th minute.
Three minutes later, Nil Vinyals received the ball from outside of the box after a poor clearance from the opposition. The Spaniard found Bolanos on the run who crossed it into the danger area. Bryant received the ball towards the back post and placed the ball calmly past the opposition, scoring his first goal as a Kicker and drawing first blood in the match.
In the 20th minute, Vinyals found Bolanos on the run from midfield. Bolanos then carried the ball just outside the left side of the 18-yard-box and crossed the ball to find Bentley’s head on the near post that beat the keeper into the goal.
In the third minute of first-half stoppage time, Bolanos received the ball from Emiliano Terzaghi on the dribble. Bolanos raced up the left wing and found himself one-on-one with the Charlotte keeper. He looked to place a low-driven shot, but the keeper was able to deflect it. The rebound did not go far, and Bolanos poked a pass to Bryant who was crashing into the box. Bryant deftly touched the ball into the back of the net for his second goal of the night.
The Kickers walked into the dressing room up 3-0 at halftime, and they pressed for more in the second half.
Another key opportunity presented itself in the 66th minute, Bryant found Stephen Payne running into the box. Payne took a touch forward and shot the ball, just hitting the wrong side of the woodwork and deflecting back into play.
The Kickers would finally find their fourth as they took advantage of an opportunity in the 74th minute when Bentley scored another header running towards the back post. Vinyals played Bolanos with a one-touch, one-two pass and Bolanos promptly crossed the ball in. The pass took a slight deflection off the crashing Charlotte defender, but the ball made it to its intended target as Bentley sent it to the underside of the crossbar, ricocheting into the net.
Bryant scored his first goals as a Kicker only 10 days after notching two assists in the Kickers’ 3-0 win over Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on June 1. Bentley scored his first professional brace as he moved in line with reigning back-to-back MVP Terzaghi, with four goals apiece.
Bolanos tied the league’s record with three official assists in a single match. The potential league-record-setting fourth assist in a single match is currently under further review.
The Kickers stay at home for the final match of their four-match homestand on Saturday, June 18 when they host Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC on Black Heritage Celebration Night. Tickets are available at richmondkickers.com/tickets. Doors open at 5 p.m. ahead of the 6:30 p.m. kickoff.