North Carolina FC 3, Richmond Kickers 2
|RICHMOND KICKERS||2||29′ Gomiero, 32′ Gomiero (Fitch)|
|NORTH CAROLINA FC||3||62′ Anderson, 73′ Perez, 76′ McLaughlin (Perez)|
CARY, N.C. —The Richmond Kickers’ (2-2-4, 10 pts) unbeaten away run stretching back to the 2022 season ended at nine to league leaders North Carolina FC (6-2-1, 19 pts), Wednesday night, after a second-half surge saw the hosts win 3-2.
João Gomiero scored his first two goals in a Kickers’ shirt to give the Roos a lead at the end of the first half.
The match started back and forth as Richmond stifled North Carolina’s attempts in the attack before attempting to break in transition.
In the 29th minute, Richmond’s pressure made way for their first of the night.
NCFC’s Devin Benton received the ball in his defensive area as Luke Pavone and Matthew Bentley closed down the defender. A failed clearance from Benton landed at the feet of Gomiero who deftly flicked the ball with his backheel as he spun on the ball.
Seeing the goalkeeper off his line, Gomiero struck a dipping ball that rose over the goalkeeper’s fingertips before sneaking inside of the far post netting.
Three minutes later, Gomiero would find joy again in the attack.
Zaca Moran hit a cross-field ball from the center of the pitch to Kharlton Belmar on the right wing. Belmar carefully chested the pass down as Simon Fitch made a forward run between the leftback and centerback.
Belmar played a perfectly weighted through ball to the backline. An NCFC defender got a foot to it, but Fitch kept it inbounds, dribbled into the box, and played a low-driven pass to the center of the penalty area. Waiting on the end of the pass was Gomiero who one-timed a curling ball that beat the keeper and doubled Richmond’s lead.
The half would end with the Kickers holding a 2-0 advantage and they would come out of the gate pressing for a third. Their best chance of the second half would come in the 54th minute.
A backpass gone awry for NCFC in their defensive area saw Bentley pick up the ball and race to the penalty area. As his defender closed in, Bentley played a square ball across the box that found Justin Sukow. The midfielder one-timed the shot to catch the goalkeeper off guard, but Sukow’s attempt was unlucky to go over the crossbar.
NCFC found life in the 62nd minute after an unfortunate giveaway in the Kickers’ defensive half reached the feet of former Kicker Oalex Anderson who ricocheted a shot off the inside of the left post and into the net.
The hosts found their equalizer 10 minutes later after winger Rafa Mentzingen fired a shot on target from outside the box. Fitzgerald made a deflecting save away from the goal, but midfielder Louis Perez was able to get to the ball first and knocked the rebound into the net.
Three minutes later, Perez crossed the ball into the penalty area, and forward Garrett McLaughlin redirected the ball into the goal with a glancing header to give NCFC their go-ahead.
The Kickers return home to play their third match in seven days and first of which at home when they host league debutants Lexington SC on Saturday, May 20th during First Responders Night presented by Bon Secours.
The doors at City Stadium are set to open at 5:45 p.m. ahead of the 7 p.m. kickoff. Tickets are available at richmondkickers.com/tickets.
For a cost as low as $10 per match, Kickers fans can save the most with Season Tickets while unlocking exclusive perks and experiences. With one additional regular season match and two new opponents joining USL League One in 2023, City Stadium will be the place to be! Additional information can be found at richmondkickers.com/seasontickets.
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