Despite a three-hour storm delay that saw heavy rain and lightning dominate the evening, the Richmond Kickers were able to get a comeback victory over New York Greek American Atlas SC thanks to two second half goals from George Davis IV & Tishan Hanley.
Before the rain arrived, much of the opening moments of the match match was spent with both sides fighting to generate attack in their respective ends of the field as Richmond midfielder Shay Spitz and New York’s Christian Camacho moving around the pitch trying to create offense.
It would be Atlas striking first and making their presence known to the fans inside City Stadium thanks to a quick counterattack by the club during the the 21st minute.
New York midfielder Stephan Bareas and forward Chris Megaloudis raced down the wing and center of the pitch, respectively. Bareas sent the ball on a low cross to Megaloudis, finding the forward on the run and deep in the box.
Megaloudis’ shot went low to the right side, beating Richmond goalkeeper Joe Willis and elevating Atlas to a one-goal lead over the Kickers.
Richmond tried to level the score quickly on the opposite end of the pitch as defender Shane Johnson moved forward into the attacking zone and sent a quick pass into the box. That pass found midfielder Luke Vercollone, who wanted to take the shot first-time but was unable to make a quality connection with the ball, deflecting toward Atlas goalkeeper Ryszard Gorski, who was able to grab and protect the ball to maintain their single goal lead.
Both teams would be forced to exit the field and fans asked to leave the stands as thunderstorms impacted the area around the stadium at the 33:37 mark of the first half.
The game would be delayed for three hours and eight minutes with players returning to the pitch at 10:43 pm.
With a small number of fans left in the stands, Richmond and New York shook off the cobwebs and returned to the business at hand. The final eleven minutes of the first half saw the Kickers attempt to get on the board but halftime would see Atlas maintain their one-goal advantage.
The second stanza of the match saw Richmond increase the attack and force New York to play in their own zone. That offensive commitment by the Kickers would pay off thanks to the efforts of forward George Davis IV in the 48th minute.
Richmond forward Tishan Hanley was able to set up Davis IV on a give-and-go play inside the box of the New York goalkeeper Gorski and the quick shot beat the Atlas netminder and allowed the Kickers to level the match early in the second half.
The attack continued for the Kickers with several instances of Richmond spreading the ball around the zone via low passes and high crosses, forcing New York to stay active in their defensive zone.
The go-ahead goal for the Kickers came in the 82nd minute off a fast-moving switch play by Richmond’s Samuel Asante. His play found midfielder Sascha Gorres who was able to move the ball with ease to forward Tishan Hanley, who headed the ball into the back of the net, giving Richmond their first lead of the night.
With the lead, the Kickers turned to goalkeeper Joe Willis, who made several strong saves to maintain the team’s one-goal lead. Even with Willis’ saves, New York was not deterred and generated several scoring opportunities.
The 83rd minute saw Richmond commit a foul, leading to an Atlas free kick. The set piece, taken by Atlas defender Christian Arrieta, could not beat the defensive wall created by the Kickers, leading to the ball going back out of the zone. New York whipped it back into the box trying to convert but Willis was alert and made the save.
New York’s late push continued in the 89th minute with a corner kick that found Atlas midfielder Atonios Papasevastos in the box only to see his header denied by the crossbar.
The final whistle was blown at 11:49 p.m., four hours and 49 minutes after the first kickoff at 7:00 p.m.
The Kickers will now face Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution on June 18 at Richmond City Stadium at 7 p.m.