Richmond Kickers celebrate a goal against Virginia Beach City FC in the US Open Cup Second Round. Photo: James Loving | Richmond Kickers
Two second-half goals pushed the Richmond Kickers past Virginia Beach City FC and into the US Open Cup’s Third Round Wednesday night with a 2-0 victory.
Nate Shiffman and Jason Yeisley each scored to advance the Kickers as they will host Jacksonville Armada FC on May 27.
After successfully defending six corner kicks in the first half, Virginia Beach City FC couldn’t clear the first corner of the second half.
Fred Owusu Sekyere’s kick bounced around the six-yard box’s near post and Shiffman was able to put the ball in.
“We talked about working on that near post,” Owusu Sekyere said. “[William] Yomby out-jumped the keeper and deflected perfectly into Nate’s path and he was able to knock it over the line.”
Added Shiffman: “I was just in the right place at the right time. Yomby headed it down and I was a yard out so I just flicked it, and it deflected off one of the defenders and it went in the side netting.”
With Virginia Beach City FC poised to defend in the first half, the Kickers found it tough to attack the visitors’ goal. The hosts found their chances taking long strikes and threatening on corner kicks.
As the first half progressed the Kickers began to open up the Virginia Beach City defense with quick passes. In the 45th minute the best opportunity came for the Kickers as Brian Ownby raced down the left hand side and cut into the box. The midfielder threaded a pass into Shiffman but Virginia Beach City FC goalkeeper Sean Stowe was able to push the shot away to keep the score 0-0 at the half.
“I felt we played pretty well in the first half, we just didn’t test the keeper enough,” said Richmond coach Leigh Cowlishaw. “In the last 20 minutes of the half we felt a goal was going to come but we blew a couple chances.”
In the first half Richmond held the edge in shots (7-1) and corner kicks (6-1).
Virginia Beach FC’s lone shot on goal came halfway through the second half as Chris Albiston took a shot just outside the box. The shot went directly into the hands of Ryan Taylor who made the easy save.
The Kickers nearly doubled their lead in the 72nd minute as second-half substitute George Davis IV lined up a shot just outside the box. The attempt went past the sprawled Sean Stowe and out of play.
An Owusu Sekyere cross in the 89th minute found a diving Yeisley who buried the shot in the net to put the hosts up 2-0.
The Kickers bested Virginia Beach City FC in both shots (15-3) and corners (9-8) in the win.
With the victory, the Richmond Kickers have now won six straight US Open Cup openers.
“We have a good team we’re used to winning,” Cowlishaw said. “There’s a lot of guys who are winners on the team and we take it [the US Open Cup] very seriously. We want to bring an MLS team to Richmond. It’s our second goal, we want to win a regular season championship and we want to bring an MLS team to Richmond.”
With a win next week, Cowlishaw and company would get that chance.