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Raul Gonzalez Breaks Scoring Drought for Richmond Kickers

The rookie’s first professional goal saved a point on the road against Rochester

Richmond’s scoring drought finally broke while on the road against 2015 USL champs Rochester Rhinos Sunday afternoon. The match saw Rochester dominate possession early, but Richmond found a new hero in recently signed Raul Gonzalez. Tallying 13 goals during his collegiate career, Gonzalez trained with Minnesota United during the preseason before signing his first professional contract with the Kickers. Alhaji Kamara traveled with Richmond and demonstrated able hold up play at the top of the formation.

Richmond keeper Matt Turner was tested early when Mike Garzi dribbled into the box and took a shot to the far side of goal. Turner had to dive right but easily made the save. In the 16th minute Rochester’s Brandon Beresford earned a yellow card for a hard tackle on defender Alex Lee, which set a tone as the Rhinos would tally three cautions and 22 fouls during the match.

Uncharacteristically bad defending from Richmond resulted in Rochester’s lone goal on the evening. A long ball found Rochester forward Darius Madison with space in front of Richmond’s back line. The defensive midfield was absent and not applying pressure, allowing Madison to touch and go with Kenardo Forbes. Conor Shanosky tried to stop Madison but the ball got tangled up at his feet and somehow fell to Forbes. Turner came sliding off his line but Forbes simply dribbled around him and scored on an empty net.

The Kickers answered before the break. Samuel Asante earned a free kick after being taken down 25 yards out from goal. Gonzalez was on free kick duty all evening, and it looked as if he’d send in an arcing cross to awaiting teammates at the far side of goal. However, Gonzalez stunned the crowd and the defensive wall when he fired a bending shot to the near side of goal and past keeper Tomas Gomez. His first professional goal was a screamer.

Gonzalez would have another chance from a similar location in the 60th minute. Kamara used his size to fight off a defender for a long ball from Samuel Asante. He chested it down to a sprinting Gonzalez, who was tackled 30 yards from goal. He used this set piece to strike at goal again, but the ball curved into the grasp of a waiting Gomez.

The Rhinos answered with a shot on goal a few minutes later. Forbes set up left back Bradley Kamden Fewo on the edge of the box, and the defender struck a shot on target that was cradled by Turner. Matt Turner would make four saves on the evening.

Richmond put the pressure on late in the 2nd half. In the 86th minute Luiz Fernando sent in a dangerous free kick that nearly found big man Mallan Roberts. Headed away by Rochester, Braeden Troyer sent it back into the danger area. Again Roberts tried to get his head to it, but the ball bounced to the top of the box to a waiting Yudai Imura. He struck on his first touch, but the shot sailed wide-left.

With the 1-1 draw the Kickers are 2-4-3 on the season. The road trip continues as Richmond tries to rack up points against bottom of the table Toronto FC II Wednesday at noon, followed by Ottaway Fury FC Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Both matches will stream online at uslsoccer.com.