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April 6, 2022

Rock-em, Sock-em NOVA FC

Rock-em, Sock-em NOVA FC

With the US Open Cup returning, The Kickers were in an unusual position as they were the road team in a cup tie. The Kickers took the drive up 95 north as they played NOVA FC, who plays in USL 2. The Kickers rested some players, but there were a few surprises as Akira got the start between the sticks, and Zaca and Nil started in midfield. A few players got in critical minutes as Matt Bentley, David Olsen, and Leo Baima came into the front 3. Former VCU Ram Simon Fitch got the nod at fullback as well.   

The Roos started this game knowing they would have to be ball dominant to break down a NOVA FC side who was looking to pack it in at times and go direct to beat the Kickers. Bentley seems to be the lightning rod in this squad as he showed to be confident and willing to run in behind. In the first half, Nil looked to be in control of the pockets of space that NOVA FC was giving him, creating a few dangerous chances. The Kickers did show a reoccurring concern within the first moments of the match as they looked slightly awkward with the ball at their feet as they completed 153 passes in their half. NOVA FC was looking to get underneath and make the Kickers uncomfortable with 15 fouls committed and two yellow cards in the first half. The Kickers were able to keep their cool as Bentley beat his man on the right-hand side and slotted a low cross into the feet of David Olsen (who, fun fact, scored his first goal in 4 years due to injury "@USLLEAGUEONE." ). The Kickers ended out the half with the game in control but would probably still need another goal to finish it out. 


The Kickers made a few substitutions to start the second half as Stephen Payne and Dakota Barnathan came on to the field for Stuart Ritchie and Nathan Aune. The Kickers early on looked in control of this match as Jonathan Bolanos (who came on for David Olsen) was now the one getting in behind the NOVA FC defense and causing trouble. Unfortunately, he would not finish the match as Bolanos took a hard foul around the 64th minute. Emiliano Terzaghi would come on for him and complete the game and look dangerous as he would expand play on his side. However, the Kickers did look sloppy at moments as NOVA FC was growing into the game and creating half-spaces. Terzaghi came on and, as he usually does as a TWO TIME GOLDEN BOOT WINNER, he  created at least two shots on goal from beyond 25 yards out. The Kickers never made much in the second half as they looked to avoid being caught out, but NOVA FC looked to stretch the Kickers out without creating much. NOVA FC tried to score a goal through corners and long balls over the top, but the Kickers did enough to hold on for the win.

If you want to take any negative from this game outside of the 1-0 scoreline, the Kickers need to do three things to improve their performance. 

  1. Get comfortable on the ball in tight space.
  2. Work the ball up the field quicker to avoid sloppy touches.
  3. Maybe give Leo Baima some minutes in the cm/lm spot. 

But, outside of that, it was a professional performance by Darren Sawatzky in his first US Open Cup game as the Richmond manager. 

The Kickers take on league debutants Northern Colorado, who just beat USL Championship side Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1-0 in the US Open Cup. You can listen to the preview of the game here at Rivercity 93

Also, the Kickers will find out who they play next in the US Open Cup on Friday, so make sure to watch the socials for that.