The Richmond Kickers faced off against a tough Louisville City FC team at City Stadium on Saturday night. Louisville was coming off a two-game winning streak and looked to secure their position atop the Eastern Conference. Richmond sought to maintain their unbeaten status at home. Coincidentally, Louisville's only loss this season came against New York Red Bulls II, who Richmond tied last week in heroic fashion on the road.
Two D.C. United loanees joined the Kickers: Miguel Aguilar in the middle of the field supporting forward Jason Yeisley and keeper Charlie Horton returning in goal for the second week in a row. Richmond controlled much of the possession early in the game and looked confident in defense when Louisville did have the ball. Aguilar looked spry in his early touches, dancing around Louisville defenders and taking care of corners for Richmond. Yeisley had a dangerous cross in towards goal in the 8th minute, but it was punched away by keeper Greg Ranjitsingh.
Aguilar took a heavy ball to the face in the 16th minute; play was stopped and the Richmond training staff had a look at him. He shook it off and took back to the pitch. Louisville threatened in the 23rd following a throw-in in the Richmond half. A shot within the penalty area had enough pace that Horton bobbled the ball but secured it in the end.
Three minutes later on the other end, Aguilar did well to hold the ball at the top of the box and find an open Brian Ownby, who's shot on target outside the box had to be deflected by the Louisville keeper. Soon after Ownby was off to the races down the left side, only to be brought down awkwardly by Sean Reynolds. Referee Danielle Chesky produced a yellow card to the Louisville defender.
After the half, Yeisley stalled the ball in Louisville territory and passed it off to a streaking Aguilar up the left side. Aguilar sent in a low, accurate cross to Luis Fernando, but a hard Louisville tackle sent the ball out for a corner kick. Soon after, a high-header in the Richmond penalty area was defended by Horton in the 60th minute. He took a bit of an awkward punch at the ball, but in the face of two Louisville players, was able to get it out of the danger area.
In the 63rd, things took a turn for the worse for Richmond. Alex Lee received a red card for an incident off the ball with Mark-Anthony Kaye, putting the Kickers on their back foot for the rest of the match. The two had gotten into it in the first half, and passions boiled over with Kaye going to ground no where near the ball. Kaye popped up and got in Lee's face, but it was the Richmond defender sent off. Aguilar dropped back to fill in as defender.
In the ensuing ten minutes, Horton pulled in and held a corner, a set piece and a shot on goal, acting strong in the box in the face of Louisville pressure. Ownby went down with injury in the 78th but walked it off. He was immediately subbed for Ryan Grant, adding some pace to the middle of the field. Things remained chippy in the dying minutes of the game but Richmond defended strong while down a man against the conference leaders. With the final whistle, the Kickers tallied another point and remain unbeaten at home.
Horton secured his second clean sheet in a row, solidifying himself as a solid option for the Kickers with Ryan Taylor out for the season. Richmond continues their home stand at City Stadium this Saturday against FC Montreal, a team that has yet to win (or tie) a game this season.