The collaboration between D.C. United and the Richmond Kickers continues to benefit both teams. Travis Worra made his first trip to Richmond this year and picked up right where he left off.
After securing their first road victory last week against Harrisburg, Richmond sought to keep their momentum as they faced off against another Keystone State team at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh. The Riverhounds were 2-10-4 on the year going into the game, an abysmal record for a team with MLS aspirations. Worra started in goal and Luke Mishu made his 3rd start in a row in Richmond’s back line.
Pittsburgh looked more confident in the first half than they did away at Richmond last month, which resulted in a 3-1 drubbing by the Kickers. Still, Richmond controlled much of the play and was on the attack for the bulk of the match.
Sunny Jane started his night off early with a free kick on goal in the 3rd minute. His bending ball from directly in front of goal had to be tipped over the bar by Pittsburgh keeper Mauricio Vargas. In the 26th minute, Richmond was again on the attack with Samuel Asante splitting three defenders and dribbling to the Pittsburgh touchline. He angled a pass back to Anthony Grant, whose shot was only saved by the leg of Vargas.
A few minutes later, Pittsburgh’s Lebo Moloto answered with a terrific shot from outside the box that bended just wide of goal and a diving Worra. Towards the end of the half, the Riverhounds created a few chances in a row but nothing came of them. Their efforts were totally negated in the 43rd minute when a dangerous cross into the box from Braeden Troyer found Hugh Roberts. Pittsburgh defender Willie Hunt dragged Roberts down in the box, and referee Jonathan Weiner immediately pointed to the spot.
As Yudai Imura set up to take the penalty, Pittsburgh defender Sergio Campbell earned a yellow card after jawing at Imura and the officials. The trash talk didn’t phase Imura, whose shot to the right of goal found the net, earning him his fourth goal of the season. The Kickers went into the half up 1-0.
It would be a long break, as inclement weather and a power outage caused a significant delay in restarting the match. In front of a much-reduced crowd, Richmond picked up where they left off. In the 58th, Luiz Fernando made a magnificent low cross across the face of goal which Vargas failed to take care of it. Anthony Grant and Sunny Jane couldn’t get on the end of it, however, and a big opportunity was missed.
It wouldn’t end there. Troyer made another excellent cross into the box, but Jane didn’t quite have the height to get on the end of it. Even after dominating the second half, the next Richmond goal resulted from a counterattack. The run of play began when the Kickers collected a Pittsburgh cross in the Richmond penalty area. Mike Callahan sprung Jane up the middle, and he outpaced two defenders and cut around a third as he raced towards goal. He angled the ball to his left and fired a shot to the far post, beating Vargas and doubling Richmond’s lead.
Pittsburgh attempted to answer in the 79th with a free kick just outside the box, but Worra punched the ball away and Richmond’s defense did the rest. In his first game with the Kickers this season, Worra earned a shutout. Richmond’s partnership with D.C. United continues to benefit the team, and D.C.’s young players continue to earn valuable minutes on the pitch. With their road woes behind them, the Kickers now sit fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Their campaign continues at home this Saturday against Toronto FC II, who the Kickers fell to on the road back in May.