Richmond Kickers celebrate with their fans during a Third Round match in the 2018 US Open Cup. Photo: Jessica Stone Hendricks Photography
The Richmond Kickers rode an offensive surge from Luiz Fernando and the late heroics of Heviel Cordovés on Wednesday night in a 3-2 victory against Penn FC in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Fernando and Jorge Rivera traded two goals apiece for Richmond and Penn respectively before Cordovés ultimately sealed the match for the Kickers with a late winner.
Though there were only two yellow cards administered, it proved to be a physical affair on both sides. Weathering the early pressure by Penn FC, Fernando latched onto the end of a long ball sent in by Conor Shanoksy and finished with a volley in the 13th minute to put the USL side up, 1-0.
Fernando would go on to double his joy and Richmond’s advantage in the 22nd minute. The forward collected a centering pass from Yudai Imura in the middle of the box before slotting it home for his second of the match.
Despite a raucous crowd enjoying an early two-goal lead, Rivera provided a lifeline for Penn FC heading into halftime after scoring his first of the match in the 36th minute. Following a corner given up by Richmond goalkeeper Trevor Spagenberg, Rivera linked up with Saalih Muhammad to pull one back for the visitors.
With a one-goal deficit coming out of the break, Penn FC picked up where they left off with an aggressive push forward. Penn finally managed to level the affair in the 60th minute after Fabio De Sousa unlocked the Richmond defense and sent Rivera on with only Spagenberg to beat. Rivera did well to dodge the on-rushing Richmond keeper before tapping in the equalizer.
“We were playing to avoid extra time there at the end,” commented Kickers coach Leigh Cowlishaw after the game. “We were excited to try and get that chance at a home game that’s so exciting for the city later in the tournament.”
With just seven minutes remaining in the match, Heviel Cordovés found the winner for the home side. Cordovés did well to float in to space behind the defense, and Austin Yearwood sent in a low cross that the forward finished, unmarked, with a left-footed volley.
Despite a few solid chances for Penn FC in the dying embers of the match, Richmond’s defense proved sturdy enough to weather the storm and earn advancement to the Fourth Round.
For the first time since 2015, the Kickers have won two matches in their Open Cup campaign. It was also the club’s 30th all-time US Open Cup which moves them into a tie for seventh on the all-time list. Richmond now awaits the announcement of their next opponent, which will be determined through a draw on Thursday morning at 11 a.m. EST.