The Richmond Kickers welcomed the Charleston Battery to City Stadium last night, and crushed their old rivals 4-0 in the 50th meeting between the two teams. This result continues the Battery's horrible season, as they sit at the bottom of the USL PRO table. The Kickers midfield completely dominated the midfield of the Battery, being able to string together long sequences of passes at will. The win takes the Kickers to 38 points on 18 games on top of their 16 game unbeaten streak; however, an historic run by Orlando City SC still leaves the Kickers 8 points out of first place.
The Kickers started the game completely dominating possession, with the Battery unable to string together more than a couple of passes before giving away the ball. They thought that they had an opportunity to score when the referee called for a penalty kick in the 21st minute; however, after conferring with his linesman, the penalty was waved off.
The first two goals came within two minutes of each other at the very end of the first half. Conor Shanosky started the first goal, with a run out of the back in which he played an attacking ball to Alex Lee that forced a corner kick. After the short corner was taken, George Davis IV got the ball back. His cross was powerfully headed down by Shanosky and into the back of the net. In first half stoppage, Shay Spitz collected an incisive pass out of the back from Shanosky, turned, and fired a pass to the streaking George Davis IV. His run was timed perfectly, and he was easily able to slot the ball into the net. Immediately after the goal, the first half whistle blew.
The third goal came early in the second half and put away the Battery. Alex Lee trapped the goal in the very corner fo the field and fired it to Luke Vercollone. Vercollone's cross from the corner of the box found Jason Yeisley's head, and the Kickers led by three in the 50th minute. The final goal put Matthew Delicate into sole possession of first place in the USL PRO goal scoring race. Jason Yeisley simply beat former D.C. United defender John Wilson, and his cross was right in the path of Matthew Delicate who easily knocked it home.
Conor Shanosky had a very impressive game alongside William Yomby. In addition to the goal, Shanosky was very active and quick, stepping up from his spot on the back line to cut out passes and start attacks. The line that Richmond was playing at times was so high that Shanosky was able to put some medium-long crosses into the box. Shanosky has been playing well in USL PRO this season, and is almost a year younger than Steve Birnbaum; he still has time to become an MLS quality center back.
Joe Willis did not have much to do throughout the game, but was generally solid. His communication with his center backs was good, he was able to grab the ball from them when he needed to, and his distribution was good. He is currently in second place in USL PRO for goals against average, giving up only 0.75 goals per 90 minutes. Christiano Francois did not make the 18 man roster.
The Richmond Kickers are next in action this Tuesday, when they travel to South Carolina to again take on the Charleston Battery in a rescheduled game.