Photo courtesy Brian Zimmerman / Richmond Kickers
MONTREAL – The Richmond Kickers extended their winning streak to six games on Saturday as a late goal by Yudai Imura earned a 2-1 victory against FC Montreal at the Complexe Sportif Claude-Robillard. The Kickers almost took the lead in the 12th minute when Montreal goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau made a good save to deny Sunny Jane from 15 yards. In an open game that saw both teams have chances, Jane shot over the bar when it seemed easier to score seven minutes before halftime. Montreal’s Heikel Jarras had a header denied by Richmond’s Matt Turner three minutes into the second half, but the Kickers took the lead in the 63rd minute as a cross by Scott Thomsen was put away by Luiz Fernando from close range. Montreal tied the game in the 87th minute from the penalty spot as Alessandro Riggi converted after being brought down in the penalty area, but the Kickers regained the lead a minute later as Imura converted Fernando’s low cross to give his side victory.
63’ – RIC – Luiz Fernando (Scott Thomsen)
87’ – MTL – Alessandro Riggi (PK)
88’ – RIC – Yudai Imura (Luiz Fernando)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Kickers took a sixth consecutive victory for the second time in their USL history, but it wasn’t a comfortable victory in part thanks to the number of chances the side let go astray in either half. Sunny Jane had a solid game overall, but arguably should have scored twice for Richmond in the first half, including a miss from inside the six-yard area that he spooned over the crossbar. Yudai Imura’s late game-winner definitely saved some blushes in the locker room after the game.
2. Montreal’s record might not show it, but it is very close to being a good team. As previously this season, though, the final third proved the biggest challenge for the side on Saturday in a game that provided some good open entertainment throughout. The side had a chance to earn its first point at home this season thanks to Alessandro Riggi’s penalty kick with three minutes to go, but an immediate defensive letdown that allowed Yudai Imura to restore the Kickers’ advantage.
3. The Kickers jumped past the Charleston Battery and into fourth place in the USL Eastern Conference standings with their victory in Montreal, and it sets up a mouthwatering clash next Saturday night in Richmond when third-place FC Cincinnati visits. After the Kickers’ last-minute equalizer at Nippert Stadium earlier this season, the game should be an entertaining one, but will be a crucial one in terms of playoff position as the race for home-field advantage enters the final stretch.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Luiz Fernando, Richmond Kickers – The young Brazilian had a goal and assist to give the Kickers victory, as the side moved into the top four in the Eastern Conference with its sixth consecutive win.
FC Montreal vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds – August 10, 7 p.m. ET, Complexe Sportif Claude-Robillard
Richmond Kickers vs. FC Cincinnati – August 13, 7 p.m. ET, City Stadium