RICHMOND, Va. (June 30, 2018) – North Carolina FC came from behind to earn a huge 3-1 road victory at City Stadium over the Richmond Kickers on Saturday night. After falling behind early, NCFC completed the comeback with two goals in a three-minute span and added an insurance goal in extra time.
The match added another exciting chapter to the regional rivalry between the two cities that has been around since the early 1990s. Tonight’s victory was NCFC’s first official win in the series since 2009.
In the blink of an eye, the rivalry resumed on the field. Richmond scored in the fourth minute after a flick from Heviel Cordovés snuck into the back corner of the net.
The early goal forced NCFC to chase the game from the start. The visitors chipped away at the Richmond defense until the floodgates finally opened in the 59th minute.
The first goal was officially ruled an own goal. Kyle Bekker served in a cross that Austin da Luz headed towards goal. The ball hit the leg of Richmond defender Alex Lee and rolled into the net.
Minutes later, Bekker and da Luz connected again for the second NCFC goal. Bekker sent another pinpoint cross into the box. Da Luz was in the right place at the right time and buried the eventual game-winning goal with another header. The assist was Bekker’s team-leading seventh of the season and da Luz’s second league goal in 2018.
NCFC added an insurance goal to bring the score to 3-1 in extra time when Donovan Ewolo won and converted a penalty kick. The tally was his second USL goal of the year.
The rivalry between Raleigh-based soccer clubs and the Richmond Kickers dates all the way back to the early 1990s with the Raleigh Flyers. NCFC’s victory was the first official win in the series since a 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup win.
The ties between NCFC and Richmond run deep, as Curt Johnson, current North Carolina Football Club President and General Manager, previously served as the Richmond Kickers General Manager, and NCFC Head Coach Colin Clarke began his head-coaching career with Richmond in 1998.
Richmond’s roster also features former NCFC players Brian Shriver and Neil Hlavaty – who both started for the Kickers tonight.
Kyle Bekker recorded his team-leading seventh assist, while Austin da Luz and Donovan Ewolo each scored their second USL goals of the season.
NCFC (4-4-2): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Michael Harrington, Connor Tobin ©, DJ Taylor; Austin da Luz, Graham Smith, Kyle Bekker (Tiyi Shipalane, 86’), Steven Miller; Daniel Rios (Donovan Ewolo, 90’+3), Marios Lomis (Marcel Kandziora, 64’)
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Nelson Blanco, Wuilito Fernandes, Dre Fortune
RIC (4-2-3-1): Travis Worra; Scott Thomsen (Oscar Umar, 42’), William Yomby ©, Conor Shanosky (Mekeil Williams, 56’), Alex Lee; Neil Hlavaty, Braeden Troyer; Raul Gonzalez, Brian Shriver (Yudai Imura, 76’), Luiz Fernando; Heviel Cordoves
Subs not used: Trevor Spangenberg, Matthew Bolduc, Koby Osei-Wusu, Fred Owusu Sekyere
NCFC: Alex Lee (OG, 59’), Austin da Luz (Kyle Bekker, 62’), Donovan Ewolo (PK, 90’+5)
RIC: Heviel Cordoves (Scott Thomsen, 4’)
RIC: Travis Worra 90’+5