Charlotte Independence 1, Richmond Kickers 1
|RICHMOND KICKERS||1||68′ Gordon (Bolanos)|
|CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE||1||65′ Ibarra|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The first-place Richmond Kickers (7-4-4, 25 pts) earned a 1-1 draw at Charlotte Independence (5-6-4, 19 pts) to complete the regular-season series unbeaten with their cross-border rivals. Owayne Gordon scored his third goal of the season off the bench from Jonathan Bolanos’ league-leading seventh assist.
The highly-anticipated match between two of the highest-scoring offenses in USL League One was delayed nearly three-quarters of an hour after inclement weather crept up in the area prior to kickoff.
Charlotte, looking to avoid a third-straight loss to the Kickers in 2022, started aggressive toward goal and was presented with an opportunity in the 7th minute of the match off of a set piece. However, the ball was denied entry into the net by Akira Fitzgerald who dove to stop the ball from going anywhere.
In the 36th minute, Stephen Payne passed the ball to Ethan Bryant who then found Matthew Bentley inside the box between two defenders. The forward then flicked the ball to Emiliano Terzaghi who flicked the ball past the defender to the far post, but it did not make it in.
In the 39th minute, Vincenzo Candela found Stuart Ritchie who flicked the ball to June Player of the Month nominee Jonathan Bolanos. The forward then took the ball and dribbled it past two defenders. He tried finding Terzaghi who was crashing towards goal, but the Charlotte keeper was able to deflect the ball back out into the play.
After ending the first half still in a stalemate, the game changed in the 65th minute. Second-half substitute Owayne Gordon tried to head off Tresor Mbuyu as he drove into the box, but Mbuyu drew contact and earned a penalty kick for his side. Former MLS player, Miguel Ibarra converted the penalty kick to give Charlotte a tentative lead.
However, Gordon would find redemption three minutes later. Bolanos received the ball on the left wing before crossing a dangerous ball to the back post, finding Gordon. The forward rose above his defender, and directed the ball with a header to the underside of the crossbar, ricocheting past the keeper into the goal.
Fitzgerald made another major save in the 70th minute that came from another Independence set piece, which had found the head of Carson Talboys.
The Kickers battled hard in the second half to earn three points, outshooting Charlotte while taking four of their six shots from inside the box. Ultimately, after six minutes of stoppage time, the referee’s whistle blew and the two sides shared the points.
The Kickers return home to host Greenville Triumph SC on Saturday, July 16 for a 1v2 matchup on Pride Night. The team will sell tie-dye t-shirts made by the players during the match with proceeds going to Virginia Pride. Tickets are available at richmondkickers.com/tickets.
Stay up to date with the latest news from the Kickers at RichmondKickers.com and on the official team app.