Alhaji Kamara finally delivered in a big way for the Richmond Kickers, netting a hat trick in a 5-3 loss to USL expansion team Ottawa Fury FC. The Kickers had only scored five goals so far this season but tallied three on Saturday. Fellow D.C. United loan Chris Durkin also performed well in an otherwise wild game on the road. After halftime, back-to-back Kamara goals put Richmond ahead before Ottawa blew the game open.
Hunting season opened in the 9th minute when an Ottawa counterattack saw Richmond’s Raul Gonzalez bring down Sito Seoane on the edge of the penalty area. Seoane stepped up and fired a low shot around the wall and into the corner of the net.
The Kickers fought back in the 33rd minute when Fred Owusu Sekyere lobbed a perfect pass over the top to Kamara. Completely free of the back line, Kamara chested the ball down in front of goal and slotted his shot home. Immediately after, Luiz Fernando set up Jackson Eskay on the edge of the box, and his curling shot forced a tough save from Ottawa keeper Callum Irving.
Ottawa scored only two minutes later. Richmond was dispossessed in the midfield by Jamar Dixon who sent a perfect through ball in to Seoane. He took a touch, stretched out to take his strike, and somehow rocketed the ball into the net as he fell to the ground. Ottawa went into the locker room ahead 2-1.
After the break Richmond had their revenge. Fernando again linked up with Eskay down the right side. Eskay sent in a perfect cross to an unmarked Kamara at the far post. The big forward got his head to it and at point blank range tied the game for the Kickers.
Kamara then went on to tally the first hat trick suffered by Ottawa Fury FC. Again Sekyere sent in a perfect pass to Kamara over the head of defender Shane McEleney. Kamara chested the ball down and tapped it past the keeper with the outside of his boot. It rolled to the far post and put Richmond ahead for the first time in the match.
They wouldn’t be able to hold on for the win. Ten minutes later, Richmond allowed Lance Rozeboom to receive the ball unmarked at the top box. The first shot was blocked but rebounded to Rozeboom, whose second attempt directly in front of goal found the net.
The game tied at 3-3, Ottawa’s Andrae Campbell acrobatically retained possession from Raul Gonzalez and drove into the box. Gonzalez chased him down, but caused enough contact that Campbell went down. Referee Carol Anne Chenard blew for penalty, but giving Richmond hope was Matt Turner. He’d already stopped one penalty kick earlier this season and didn’t let his team down on the road. Striker Ryan Williams stepped up for Ottawa and struck the ball waist high and somewhat down the middle. Turner dove to his left, pushed the ball wide and kept his team in the game.
It was all for naught. Right after the missed penalty, an Ottawa throw-in somehow resulted in a handball call on Sekyere. Williams then redeemed himself by sending in an accurate cross with the free kick. Veteran defender William Yomby was there to head it away, but the ball came off Yomby directly to the forehead of Tucker Hume. The lucky bounce flew past Turner and gave Ottawa the lead.
Richmond maintained possession and attacked the last twenty minutes to try and save a point. In the 80th minute a Mallan Roberts header from a free kick nearly settled the score. But soon after in stoppage time, Durkin, who had a great game until then, ended up turning the ball over in the Kickers’ half. The Ottawa counterattack resulted in Jimmy Shammar Sanon one-on-one with Matt Turner. He beat Turner and sealed the game for the home side.
Richmond finally returns home after three matches on the road. Though they’ll be disappointed with the loss in Ottawa, Kamara netting three goals is a good sign for an otherwise stagnant offense. Saturday, June 3rd, the Kickers face off at City Stadium against 2016 USL champions New York Red Bulls II.