The Richmond Kickers crashed out of the playoffs today against the Charlotte Eagles, losing 2-1 at home. The Kickers were sluggish throughout the first half and the beginning of the second, only becoming frenetic near the end of the game as time ticked slowly away. It was an uncharacteristically bad performance from the Kickers defense and it ends their quest for a double, having already won the Commissioner's Cup.
The Kickers opened the scoring in the 11th minute off of a Brian Ownby cross that Mike Callahan headed home. But the lead only lasted 20 minutes before the Eagles were able to tie the score. Their first goal came from a cross on the edge of the 18 that Christian Ramirez scored on a diving header. Both Conor Shanoksy and William Yomby decided not to track Ramirez, who took advantage of the free chance in the box.
The second Charlotte goal came eight minutes later and was all on Andrew Dykstra. The cross came in from Jorge Herrera to Christian Ramirez, and Ramirez header slipped right through Dykstra's fingertips and rolled slowly into the goal. Dykstra has been impeccable all year, but this one mistake cost the Kickers dearly. The last 20 minutes were a frenetic assault, especially after the introduction of Michael Seaton, but the Kickers just didn't have enough to bring themselves back.
The Charlotte Eagles will meet Orlando City SC in the championship game next weekend in Orlando. Thanks for following us following the Kickers in this first year of the USL Pro-MLS affiliation deal; I'll be back with some year end thoughts on the deal as a whole in the next few weeks, but feel free leave your initial thoughts here.