Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Riverhounds
PITTSBURGH – Yudai Imura converted a penalty kick late in the first half and Sunny Jane added a second-half tally to lead the Richmond Kickers to a 2-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Thursday at Highmark Stadium. It marked Richmond’s second road victory of the season. The Kickers posted a 0-5-3 road record to open the season, but now have back-to-back wins away from City Stadium, previously posting a 3-0 road win against the Harrisburg City Islanders on July 8. Richmond moves to 7-6-5 (26 points) overall in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh drops to 2-10-4 (10 points) overall and 2-5-1 at home. Storms moved into the area as the first half wound down. A weather-related delay at halftime then turned into a power outage throughout the area as the second half opened shortly after 10:30 p.m. ET.
44’ – RIC – Yudai Imura (penalty)
67’ – RIC – Sunny Jane
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Richmond gained the lead in the closing minutes of the first half as the Kickers’ Anthony Grant was tangled with Pittsburgh’s Willie Hunt, who was called for a foul in the box. Yudai Imura took the subsequent penalty kick in the 44th minute, hesitating with his approach to wait for Hounds goalkeeper Mauricio Vargas to make a move. Vargas committed to his right in anticipation and Imura shot in the opposite direction for his fourth goal of the season and a 1-0 Richmond lead.
2. After the lengthy delay, it took some time for the second half to kick into gear. Sunny Jane provided a massive spark for the Kickers, singlehandedly carving his way through the Riverhounds’ defense and then from about 20 yards out firing his left-footed shot into the right of the frame for a 2-0 lead in the 67th minute. Jane has three goals on the season and has scored in back-to-back matches for the Kickers.
3. The opening five minutes were perhaps the most hectic of the entire match as visiting Richmond hoped to strike early on the road while Pittsburgh was focused on challenging Richmond goalkeeper Travis Worra, a loanee from D.C. United who made his first appearance of the 2016 USL season Thursday after featuring 12 times during the 2015 campaign. The early stretch included Kevin Kerr’s second-minute strike from 23 yards out to force Worra into a diving save to his right. Richmond immediately responded with a Sunny Jane left-footed free kick attempt that Vargas parried over the crossbar.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
William Yomby, Richmond Kickers – Though Pittsburgh didn’t threaten the net as heavily as it could have, when the Riverhounds were in striking distance, Yomby came up with a number of important clearances in both halves to maintain the shutout.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Harrisburg City Islanders – July 17, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium
Richmond Kickers vs. Toronto FC II – July 23, 7 p.m. ET, City Stadium