USL Match report

Match report: Richmond 3 – 2 Bethlehem

photo courtesy USL

In a contest to see whether the two streaks involved would end or continue — Richmond Kickers’ thirteen matches without a win or Bethlehem Steel FC’s eight without a loss — both ended as the Kickers won 3-2 on a very hot night in southern Virginia.

Richmond central midfielder Samuel Asante struck the game-winner from thirty yards out to the far left post past the fingertips of Steel keeper Tomas Romero in the 87th minute.

The Steel’s right back Aaron Jones took a goal from a free kick in the 39th minute, putting the Steel ahead at halftime, but Richmond took two goals straight out of coach Lee Colishaw’s halftime exhortations in the 46th and 47th minutes, from striker Oliver Minatel at a distance from Luis Fernando, and then Luiz Fernando himself on a beautiful cross from advanced right back Jalen Robinson.

Steel defensive central midfielder Ken Tribbett equalized in the 70th minute on an excellent cross from left back Auston Trusty, a service that took everyone in the stadium by surprise as Trusty had not been effectively passing on offense in the left channel.

The key characteristic of the game was that the normally solid Steel defense leaked badly. For reasons currently unknown,  head coach Brendan Burke started Richie Marquez at left center back, moving Trusty out wide on the left and advancing Matt Real into the left channel’s midfield. For the first time this season, an adjustment in the defensive backfield did not work out.

Romero’s alertness kept the Steel in the game in its first minute as a Richmond runner broke into space behind the center backs who seemed surprised by the Kickers’ aggressiveness off the tap. Asante had an inspired game for the home side in spite of age and heat, almost single-handedly forcing the Steel to do nothing but absorb pressure for at least the game’s first ten minutes. The Steel’s central channel midfielders, Ken Tribbett, James Chambers, and Anthony Fontana were crucial to the absorption.

If Richmond had finishers, the match would have been ended by then as the Kickers should have had as many as four goals.

The Steel’s midfield began to gain more of possession in the second portion of the first half to bring the game into greater balance, when the kickers energy began to dissipate. But the same thing happened at the beginning of the second half, and this time with finishing.

The only clues of any kind why the different back line started lie in the composition of the Steel’s bench. It contained not one natural flank midfielder. Yosef Samuel and Amoy Brown were not present, and their absences are unusual.

Three points

Danielle Chesky: The referee has guts. In the 78th minute Ms. Chesky awarded Richmond a penalty kick when Romero came out against a short breakaway inside the box and failed to secure possession while blocking further progress by the Richmond ball carrier. But replay showed no obvious foul to remote observers. Neither did Anthony Fontana seem to push the fallen Kicker from behind.

Hugh Roberts refused to leave the penalty area, insisting that Chesky consult the Assistant Referee, and she gracefully did so. Upon consultation, she discovered error and waved off the penalty. That is an act of courage by any referee, and it is even more so by one whose gender is path-breaking.

Aaron Jones: The Steel right back had a mixed night. His free kick was beautiful. But his mark, Luiz Fernando, gave him a great deal of trouble with a goal and an assist. Jones barely avoided a penalty call during that near-disastrous opening ten minutes for tugging the Brazilian from behind, and later was nutmeged in the box. As well as he played against Swansea, his consistency regressed this night.

A silver lining: Seku Conneh returned from injury to play 30 minutes, that being a length of time for a first post-injury re-appearance that they organization seems to have used consistently over the years.


Bethlehem: Tomas Romero**; Aaron Jones*(Matt Mahoney 84’), Hugh Roberts, Richie Marquez*, Auston Trusty*; Ken Tribbett*, James Chambers (C); Matt Real (Dawson McCartney** 84’), Anthony Fontana*, Santi Moar (Seku Conneh 61’); Chris Nanco. Unused substitutes: Eoin Gawrownski**; Charlie Reymann, Chris Wingate, Brenden Aaronson**. Union loanee*, Academy Player**.

Richmond: Matt Turner; Jalen Robinson, William Yomby (C) (Conor Shanovsky 70’), Mallan Roberts, Braeden Troyer; Oscar Umar, Samuel Asante; Raul Gonzalez, Sunny Jane, Luiz Fernando Nascimento (Finnlay Wyatt 73’); Oliver Minatel (Franck Tayou 73’). Unused substitutes: Marcel DeBellis; Patrick McCann, Matt Bolduc, Anthony Grant,

Scoring Summary:

Bethlehem:           39th minute      Aaron Jones (Free Kick)
Richmond:           46th minute      Oliver Minatel (from Luis Fernando)
Richmond:           47th minute      Luiz Fernando Nascimento (from Jalen Robinson)
Bethlehem:           70th minute     Ken Tribbett (from Auston Trusty)
Richmond:           87th minute      Samuel Asante

Disciplinary Summary:

Richmond:           58th minute     Oliver Minatel (foul)
Bethlehem:           76th minute     Richie Marquez (professional foul)
Richmond:           90th +1             Finnlay Wyatt (delay of game)

Referee: Danielle Chesky

One Comment

  1. Adam Cann says:

    That’s an incredible anecdote about the penalty, Tim

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