WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — The Hammerheads and the Kickers took the field at Legion Stadium in the USL PRO American Division Semi-Final on Friday, August 19th. The first half mirrored the last matchup between the Hammerheads and the Kickers just over a week ago on August 10th, with a struggle to capitalize on offensive attempts. The first strong attempt on goal came from the Hammerhead’s Andryi Budnyy in the 4th minute when he fired a shot on goal, but was deflected by Richmond keeper Ronnie Pascale, then cleared by Richmond’s defense. In the 10th minute, the Hammerheads received a free kick right outside of Richmond’s 18 yard box but the attempt was not rewarded with a goal. The Kicker’s had a strong attempt on goal in the 15th minute when forward Stanley Nyzamba controlled a tough through ball in the 18 yard box and fired at Hammerhead keeper Brock Duckworth. Duckworth was unable to control the save but his deflection was cleared out of the box by a Hammerhead defender. The majority of the first half was patient, possessive play in the midfield. The teams entered halftime scoreless as neither side could find a way around the strong defensive showing by both teams.
The pace in the second half was picked up by both sides as they increased their attacks. In the 56th minute Wilmington defender Tom Parratt had the first good shot on goal but fired it over the crossbar. The attacks kept coming from both sides but neither team could break the 0-0 tie. In hopes to get something going on offense both teams had a series of substitutions including; Chris Bagley, Andres Cuero, Chris Murry, Richard Jata, and Diego Barrera for the Hammerheads and for the Kickers; Shaka Bangura, Nozomi Hiroyama and Ross MacKenzie.
As the end of regulation time approached, the intensity was elevated even further as both teams tried to avoid overtime. Despite several strong bids neither team was able to break the stalemate.
In overtime the Hammers only quality shot was a strong low shot by forward Chris Bagley in 88th minute that was turned aside by Richmond keeper Pascale.
The Kickers answered right back in the 89th minute with a breakaway by Edson Elcock but Hammerhead goalie came up with of his five saves of the contest to keep the Kickers off the scoreboard.
Despite the efforts of both sides regulation, ended scoreless as did the 30 minutes of overtime.
In penalty kicks, both teams connected on their first four shots. In the fifth round Shaka Bangura gave Richmond the lead with a successful penalty. Pascale gave Richmond the win when he was able to turn away Chris Bagley’s attempt from the penalty spot.
The Richmond Kickers advance to face the winner of Orlando City and the Charleston Battery next weekend.
WWAY’s Coach’s Corner will feature video from Friday’s game. This includes the all-important penalty kick shootout which Richmond won 5-4.