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Richmond Kickers' away struggles continue against Toronto

With two shots cleared off the line, Richmond unable to find an answer for TFC II

The Richmond Kickers' struggles on the road continued Wednesday as they suffered defeat to Toronto FC II. A 2nd half goal by Salvador Bernal Flores made the difference. 4-0 at home, Richmond had only mustered an 0-2-1 record in away matches. This wouldn't improve after heading north to Canada. No D.C. United loanee players accompanied the Kickers across the border.

Toronto FC II were out to redeem themselves after giving up a goal in the first five minutes to Louisville City FC last week. Ultimately, the 2-0 loss put Toronto near the bottom of the USL Eastern Conference table. They had lost to Richmond just two weeks prior, but were able to turn the tables at the Ontario Soccer Center.

Yudai Imura returned to the starting eleven following a lengthy hamstring injury. Previous to spending time on the sidelines, Imura had three goals in four matches, but couldn't rekindle the same glory in Toronto. Richmond started out on the attack, earning a corner in the first minute and forward Jason Yeisley having a shot on goal two minutes later. Both were handled by Toronto.

The home squad answered in the 6th minute with a shot inside the box blocked and cleared, which subsequently fell to the waiting Toronto midfield. An ensuing cross sent in by Bubacarr Jobe looked dangerous but outpaced the Toronto attackers. Richmond's best chance of the first half came in the 13th minute when Yeisley headed down a ball to Imura, who's through ball found an open Brian Ownby one-on-one with keeper Quillan Roberts. Roberts stood tall in front of goal and blocked the shot, only for the rebound to fall to Imura. His attempt at goal was cleared off the line in a last ditch defense by Toronto.

Richmond continued to attack but Roberts thwarted every attempted. In the 21st, a poor Toronto clearance fell to Yeisley, whose shot tested Roberts but was handled. A few minutes later, a slow pass back to Roberts was nearly run down by Imura, but the Toronto keeper beat him to it.

The teams traded blows as Alex Lee, beaten on the left side, tripped Toronto midfielder Raheem Edwards. The ensuing free kick found a Richmond head and was cleared out of danger. After tangling with William Yomby in the 38th, Toronto's Jordan Hamilton earned a yellow card for kicking the ball away after the foul had been called. He answered with a strike at goal three minutes later that passed just over the crossbar. At the close of the first half, Edwards had words with the officials and was pulled off the pitch by his teammates.

Richmond enjoyed three set pieces in the first six minutes of the 2nd half but couldn't make them count. The stalemate was broken in the 75th when a free kick was taken quickly by Adam Bouchard and set in behind the Richmond defense to Salvador Bernal Flores. Alex Lee was making pace with Flores but fell, and the Toronto midfielder was able to cut a shot around Hugh Roberts. Keeper Matt Turner got a glove to the ball, but it bounced just inside the left post.

Richmond attempted to answer in the 89th. Ownby found Braeden Troyer up the left side, who's dangerous cross in front of goal was mishandled by Toronto's keeper. The ball was put back up in the air, and Samuel Asante's header was bound for goal, only to be cleared off the line. With five minutes of stoppage time, RIchmond wasn't done. In the 84th, a cross found the head of Hugh Roberts but his attempt passed over the bar. With that, the match ended.

The two sides will compete in a best of three as they meet again at City Stadium in July. Meanwhile, Richmond plays New York Red Bulls II May 14 (ed. note: recap of which is coming tomorrow) at Red Bull Arena and return home Wednesday, May 18, for their first match of U.S. Open Cup play.