Photo courtesy Harrisburg City Islanders
LANCASTER, Pa. – The Richmond Kickers got a goal and assist from Lucas Paulini as they took a 3-0 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Friday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The Kickers took the lead in the 11th minute when Paulini flicked a corner kick by Yudai Imura into the top-right corner of the net, breaking a three-game scoreless streak. Sixteen minutes later, Paulini played provider as he found Sunny Jane 25 yards from goal, and Jane rifled a finish into the right corner of the net. Harrisburg came close to pulling a goal back in the second half, but the Kickers put the game away with 15 minutes to go when Mike Callahan blistered home a shot from the top of the penalty area.
11’ – RIC – Lucas Paulini (Yudai Imura)
27’ – RIC – Sunny Jane (Lucas Paulini)
75’ – RIC – Mike Callahan
Three Things That Matter:
1. Richmond broke a three-game winless streak in emphatic fashion, and showed a decisiveness in front of goal that will be crucial in the team’s pursuit of a playoff position in the second half of the season. The Kickers scored three goals in a game for only the third time this season, which should provide a good platform to build on as they enter two contests against sides below them in the Eastern Conference standings in Pittsburgh and Toronto.
2. The Kickers opened the scoring with a fine set piece that saw Lucas Paulini flick home a good near-post cross by Yudai Imura. The goal broke a 304-minute scoreless streak for the Kickers, and maybe illustrated something they’d picked up from their rival Charleston a week ago when Taylor Mueller’s near-post header sent the Battery on their way to victory. When a team is struggling for goals in the way the Kickers were, set pieces can make a big difference.
3. Harrisburg’s defensive frailties came to the fore again on Friday night as it remained winless in its last eight games. The City Islanders are enterprising in attack, but have conceded the third-most goals in the USL this season after Tulsa Roughnecks FC and Toronto FC II. Sitting eight points out of a playoff position with 12 games to go following tonight’s result, the playoffs seem a very long way off.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Lucas Paulini, Richmond Kickers – Paulini scored the opening goal, and provided the assist on the second to give the Kickers an essential victory as they pursue a sixth consecutive playoff berth.
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Toronto FC II – July 10, 6 p.m. ET, Clipper Magazine Stadium
Richmond Kickers at Pittsburgh Riverhounds – July 14, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium