Michael Callahan of the Richmond Kickers dribbles through the Icon FC defense. Photo: Suz Kitsteiner | Richmond Kickers
Despite some early setbacks, the USL Pro’s Richmond Kickers sent Icon FC of the USASA home packing, 4-1 Tuesday night. Icon FC, anchored by former US international Danny Szetela, didn’t go without a fight, however, tallying an early goal and holding tough until late in a rough, chippy affair.
It took just nine minutes for the first goal to be scored in this contest, as Icon FC’s Argjent Duka got on the end of defender Kevin Garcia’s through ball in the Richmond box and slotted a goal past Kickers keeper Andrew Dykstra. The celebrations didn’t last long as Richmond’s Stanley Nyazamba scored just seconds later off of a Joseph Ngwenya assist. Both of those players would be involved further as the game progressed. Ngwenya converted a penalty 14 minutes later after a Richmond player was dragged down in the box. The MLS veteran calmly placed his shot in the lower-right corner of the goal after catching Icon’s keeper, Chris Duggan, out of position with a stutter-step. Icon then turned on the pressure, forcing Dykstra into making two saves in a four-minute span right before halftime. Despite their efforts, Icon went into the half down 2-1.
Coming out of halftime, the Kickers started peppering the Icon goal. Richmond forward Nate Robinson narrowly missed the open goal in the 52nd minute and Ngwenya put a scissor-kick just high in the 55th. There was some controversy in the 58th minute, as two Icon players seemed to handle the ball inside of the box. Center referee Mark Gorak saw it differently and allowed play to go on. Richmond responded with two shots in rapid succession, both well saved by Dugan.
Three minutes later, Dugan couldn’t keep his string of great saves going when Kickers midfielder Mike Callahan collected a ball from Ngwenya on the right wing and attempted to cross it in. The cross skipped off the shin of Icon defender Teddy Niziolek and nestled neatly under the crossbar to give Richmond a 3-1 lead. The official scorer credited the goal to Callahan, his first in the tournament this year.
In the 68th minute, Icon FC won a free kick on the corner of the Richmond area and was looking to punch a second goal in directly. The shot was easily collected by Dykstra for his fourth save, and the Kickers played on. Gorak, the referee, started to put his mark on the game from this point, clamping down on fouls and dealing two Icon yellows in a ten-minute span. The discipline wasn’t the only action left, however, as Richmond forward Stanley Nyazamba got on the end of a ball from Nate Robinson in the 85th and put it past Dugan to propel the Kickers to a 4-1 win.
The Richmond Kickers move on to host MLS side D.C. United on May 28th at City Stadium. This will mark the second year in a row, and the sixth time overall, that the two teams have faced each other in Open Cup play with United winning the last five of the six meetings.