Richmond started a three week home stand with a match against Orlando City B Saturday night. In yet another 1-0 loss, the Kickers failed to score and maintained the unenviable position of bottom of the eastern conference table.
A back line shakeup added to the poor showing. Perennial starter Braeden Troyer sat the bench with injury, so Finnlay Wyatt earned a rare start at left back. Evan Lee made a defensive start along with William Yomby and Alex Lee, a change from Mallan Roberts and Conor Shanosky.
Orlando went ahead early. Pierre Da Silva made a cheeky move to cut around Samuel Asante down the left side to the end line. His cross to the top of the box deflected off Evan Lee, which fell to Hadji Barry. He collected the ball and fired a shot past keeper Matt Turner, earning his 5th goal of the season and putting Orlando ahead 1-0. It proved to be the only goal of the match.
Richmond nearly equalized less than a minute later. Oscar Umar sent in a long ball over the top of the Orlando defense to Raul Gonzalez. He chested the ball down, took a touch, and cracked a shot on target. Keeper Earl Edwards, Jr. had to parry the ball high into the air but was able to catch it.
In the 36th minute, Orlando earned a free kick just outside the box on the left side. They attempted a trick play of sorts, opting for a low pass to an open Da Silva at the top of the penalty area. The Kickers didn’t expect it and Da Silva had a clean shot at goal that rattled the crossbar.
The Kickers weren’t able to create many chances, but their best opportunity to equalize came at the very end of the match. A bizarre series of events in stoppage time saw Orlando’s Zach Carroll ejected and a Richmond free kick inside the Orlando penalty area. Apparently Carroll had to leave the field for injury, but came back on before receiving permission from the 4th official. He’d earned a yellow card earlier in the match, so was sent off for his mistake.
As a result, referee Lorant Varga gave Richmond what was essentially a drop ball just outside the six yard box. Fred Owusu Sekyere lobbed the ball to the far post, and Yudai Imura attempted to head it back across goal. It was blocked by Orlando and eventually went out for a free kick. Richmond wasn’t able to take advantage of the close range and being up a man, and the match ended 1-0 to Orlando.
Over the next two weeks, Richmond faces bottom of the table Toronto FC II and conference leaders Charleston Battery at City Stadium. Their body language Saturday night reflected a team that lacks cohesion and a belief that they can win. TFC II offers an opportunity to turn that around.