North Carolina FC 2, Richmond Kickers 3
|RICHMOND KICKERS||3||59′ Molina (Own Goal), 90+1′ Terzaghi (Vinyals), 90+5′ Barnathan|
|NORTH CAROLINA FC||2||26′ Adams (Skelton), 78′ Flick|
CARY, N.C. — Emiliano Terzaghi and Dakota Barnathan scored stoppage-time goals to deliver the Richmond Kickers (8-6-4, 28 pts) a stunning 3-2 come-from-behind victory to clinch the season series against rivals North Carolina FC (5-9-3, 18 pts).
In the first stoppage minute, the Kickers’ leader in chance creation and their leading goal-scorer combined to find the equalizer. Nil Vinyals sent a cross into the box that curled late as Emiliano Terzaghi dove for the ball and headed home his eighth goal of the season – ranking second most in the league.
The magic didn’t end there for the Kickers.
In the fifth and final minute of stoppage, Vinyals dropped a defender on the left wing with some brilliant skill work before sending a cross to Matthew Bentley near the back post who headed it down into the box. Barnathan deflected the shot with his body that was initially saved with a deflection by NCFC keeper Will Pulisic.
However, Barnathan would not be denied as he chested the deflection from point-blank range into the back of the net to seal the victory as the Kickers bench erupted in a frenzy, mobbing Barnathan at the corner flag.
The goal marked the second straight match in which Barnathan has scored after opening his Kickers’ account only four days earlier against Central Valley Fuego FC.
Considering the late-game dramatics, the match began more reserved as neither side threatened much early. Lightning was detected in the area in the 23rd minute forcing the players off the field for what became a nearly 2-hour weather delay.
Soon after play resumed around 9:30 p.m., NCFC drew first blood in the 25th minute as Shak Adams converted a cross at the far post.
The Kickers led in possession and registered more attempts heading into the break, but were still chasing the equalizer.
In the 59th minute, Ethan Bryant delivered it with an inswinging corner. Jalen Crisler crowded his marker, Nicolas Molina, at the back post, and Bryant’s cross ricocheted off Molina’s back and into the net to level the match at 1-1.
The Kickers threatened Pulisic again just five minutes later, coming within inches of a second.
As Richmond broke in transition, Vinyals played a perfect pass onto the feet of Owayne Gordon who was breaking at the goal.
Gordon held off a defender and found himself with only the keeper to beat. His shot was deflected by Pulisic, just narrowly popping over the crossbar as Gordon pulled up during the attempt.
In the 78th minute, North Carolina moved back in front. The ball found Max Flick in front of goal who sliced it off his foot and into the net to give his team the 2-1 edge.
The Kickers responded with pressure of their own immediately. And nearly found the equalizer on a deflected shot from Bryant and a header from Bentley that just missed over the crossbar.
Soon after, the stoppage time magic would kick in for Richmond as it ended its two-match dip in form in dramatic fashion and tightened its hold on second place in the USL League One table.
With the victory in North Carolina, the Kickers picked up their second-straight win over NCFC in 2022 – and first USL League One win in Cary – to complete the season series 2-1-0 with a plus-3 goal differential. It also marked a moment for redemption after the former USL Championship foes renewed their rivalry last season with NCFC winning the 2021 series and holding the Kickers winless.
Richmond heads to Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC on Tuesday, Aug. 2 to wrap up their three-match awaystand. The Kickers’ first-ever matchup in Northern Colorado is set for 9 p.m. EDT. The Kickers then return home to face FC Tucson on Family Night at City Stadium on Aug. 6. Kickoff for the match is set for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at richmondkickers.com/tickets.
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