Richmond has played host to the Premier League for four years now: Crystal Palace, West Brom, and two years with Swansea City. It hasn't gotten old. 8,000 fans packed City Stadium to watch the bottom-of-the-table Kickers face off with a battle-tested squad from England. Though Richmond has struggled to find goals this year and are having one of their worst seasons in decades, they didn't fail to meet the challenge before them. And a crowd turned out to watch.
As could be expected, it was apparent early that Swansea’s skill on the ball far exceeded Richmond, and yet the Kickers were committed to playing hard and putting on a show for the fans. Passionate defense and an ambitious midfield kept the score 0-0 through the 42nd minute. One ball too many got behind Richmond’s back line, however, and Kyle Brantley was brought down in the box by Braeden Troyer. Oli McBurnie stepped up to score the penalty, putting Swansea ahead before the break.
Even with their scoring woes this season, Richmond answered. In the 60th minute, both teams subbed out many of their starting eleven to try what was in essence new squads and new combinations. As he’s shown this season, Finnlay Wyatt is capable of dangerous crosses. He lobbed the ball up in front of goal and connected with Franck Tayou, whose header found the net. It was his second goal since joining the Kickers a few weeks ago. The crowd went wild.
Swansea got their revenge ten minutes later. Martin Olsson impressively chested down a long ball and crossed it in front of goal to Tammy Abraham, a loanee from Chelsea. Abraham headed the ball on target and into the net, putting Swansea ahead 2-1. Abraham is expected to start up top for Swansea during the 2017-18 Premier League season, and he’s already showing his worth.
Though the game ended 2-1, Richmond didn’t go quietly. Hopefully many of those in attendance will return to watch the Kickers take on Bethlehem Steel FC this Saturday night. The Kickers need the fans behind them, and a win will go a long way in boosting morale and getting them back on track. They made a late season run last year to earn a playoff spot, and perhaps they can do it again.