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Struggling Richmond Kickers earn a point in Pittsburgh

Raul Gonzalez led the Kickers to a 1-1 draw on the road

Jessica Hendricks

The Kickers need points, and lots of them. On the road in Pittsburgh, they at least secured one in a draw. Coming into the night eight points out of a playoff spot, the window for postseason qualification is rapidly closing. In Saturday night’s match the Kickers struck first, but a quick answer from Pittsburgh settled the game at 1-1, a result neither side will be happy with.

Richmond looked the more attack-minded side early in the first half. They were aided by a handball call 25 yards out just ten seconds into the match. Raul Gonzalez sent in the free kick, which was cleared only as far as Paddy McCann at the top of the box. He took a crack but it flew directly at keeper Trey Mitchell.

Gonzalez, traditionally a midfielder, worked his way central several times and had a big night. He had a nice chance in the final moments of the 1st half when he took a crack at goal from the top of the box. He skillfully collected a lob from midfield, teed himself up, and bent an on target shot that forced a save from Mitchell.

The early part of the 2nd half saw back and forth play. In the 65th minute, Richmond broke the deadlock and took the lead, a rare occurrence this season. McCann found Yudai Imura wide open in the middle of the pitch with space. He drove forward and made a no-look pass wide to Gonzalez. With two defenders closing in, he dribbled right, struck the ball and arced his shot past the keeper into the far side of goal. Richmond had the elusive first goal of the match.

Pittsburgh wouldn’t go quietly. Richmond allowed them too much possession in the final third and didn’t apply pressure for the remainder of the 2nd half. The Riverhounds nearly scored on a set piece in the 79th minute, and did find the net two minutes later.

Victor Souto was left too much space outside the box and made a crisp pass to Stephen Okai. Conor Shanosky allowed Okai to turn inside towards goal and he cracked a low shot to the far post. Pittsburgh was level at 1-1 and two more points slipped away from the Kickers.

Richmond returns to City Stadium this Saturday to face Orlando City B, a mid-table team with five draws in their last five matches. Time is running out for the Kickers to make a run at the playoffs, and they’ll need the three points at home badly.