Penn FC was feeling good after their win last Saturday night, but they didn’t have much time to savor their victory. They had to play again on Tuesday night, and they had struggled with playing flat on short rest earlier in the season. But the boys in blue managed to break out of their bad habits and put in a solid performance against their old rivals the Richmond Kickers.
When the lineup was first announced, it came as a bit of a shock. Especially because it looked like I got every one of my predictions wrong. But nonetheless it was a strong look for Penn FC as they maintained almost all of their offensive starters from their victory over Toronto FC II. The primary changes were on the defense as they swapped out all of the starters from the previous game.
Penn FC played well to start, but their game plan took a major hit in the 17th minute when Tommy Heinemann had to be subbed out due to injury (it appeared that the pulled up when making a run for a pass). His replacement was Ghanaian Issac Osae who had been subbed on in Saturday’s match but who had spent much of the season behind Heinemann and Lucky Mkosana on the depth chart.
Osae was a formidable presence at striker, but most of Penn FC’s chances came via their wide players on offense, namely Freddie Opoku and Aaron Dennis. Each player came close to getting free a few times and they were responsible for setting the tempo for the Penn FC attack. But ultimately neither side was able to break through during the first half and they went to the locker rooms with the match still scoreless.
When the teams returned to the pitch, it was Richmond who piled on the pressure early. They nearly scored in the 47th minute after Harri Hawkins was called for a handball just outside of the box, but Dane Kelly headed the resulting free kick over the crossbar. They came close again in the 51st minute when Luiz Fernando got a cross in to Brian Shriver. But Shriver wasn’t in the best position and he bounced his shot off of the crossbar.
When the Richmond attack began to wane, it was Penn FC’s turn to push for a goal. They quickly found one, as they have done so often this season, off of a set piece. Richard Menjivar took a free kick from midfield that defender Harri Hawkins was able to put on frame. Richmond goalkeeper Travis Worra made the save, but Osae pounced on the loose ball to score his first goal with Penn FC.
Richmond looked to changes things up after going down a goal. They brought on Heviel Cordoves, Yudai Imura (for an injured Alex Lee), and finally Rual Gonzalez to see if they could spark their offense. But it was Penn FC who kept the shots coming and it seemed like they were going to get an insurance goal before Richmond would find an equalizer. Once again it was Opoku and Dennis who provided the most dangerous opportunities. Opoku in particular had a few shots that Worra had to go full stretch in order to save.
Time was running out for the Kickers when Penn FC found their insurance goal courtesy of Dan Metzger. Richmond hadn’t learned their lesson and their marking was sloppy on a Penn FC corner kick. This time Menjivar curled a ball that an open Metzger was able to dive for and get a head on. He got enough on it to put it in the bottom right corner and put Penn FC up 2-0.
With less than ten minutes to play, going down two goals put Richmond in a tight spot. The Penn FC team maintained possession as an effective way to burn up the rest of the time, and the Kickers only ended up with four minutes of stoppage to work with. But they found a glimmer of hope when Cordoves flicked on a Shriver corner kick in the 94th minute to get one back for Richmond. However, it was simply too little, too late for the Kickers as the final whistle blew shortly after the ensuing kickoff.
- So Ghanaian Issac Osae scored his first goal for Penn FC in a home win over the Richmond Kickers. Last season, Ghanaian Ropapa Mensah also scored his first goal for the Harrisburg City Islanders in a home win against the Richmond Kickers. As you will recall, Ropapa went on to lead the team in scoring.
- Penn FC did what they needed to do to collect all six points during this week’s home stand. They also scored five goals in two matches, which is a great sign because that matches their goal scoring total from their first seven matches combined.
- Richard Menjivar put in another strong performance in the midfield. He now leads the team with three assists on the season, as well as twenty chances created.