Penn FC headed into Monday night’s match on their most successful run since 2011, so maybe they were feeling a bit overconfident. After all, they’d already beaten the Kickers during their unbeaten run, so why wouldn’t they be able to do it again? But things didn’t go according to plan for Penn FC, and they ultimately saw their six match unbeaten run come to an end.
Here is tonight's lineup presented by @FlyHIA, for our match-up against the@RichmondKickers.#PENvRIC | #ThisIsPennFC | #USL pic.twitter.com/JHacS9Jk9p— Penn FC (@PennFCOfficial) July 9, 2018
The starting lineup looked promising as Isaac Osae was able to return from his injury issue on Friday night. Sean Lewis got another start in goal after playing well when called upon for spot starts earlier in the season. Besides that, the only big changes were Ken Tribbett and Tiago Calvano teaming up to start at center back while Prince Baffoe got the start over Paulo Jr. on the right wing.
Penn FC controlled much of the offense for the first ten minutes or so, but Richmond began to control possession after that. This lead to plenty of frustration of the Penn FC players as this didn’t seem to fit their game plan and they weren’t sure how to respond. Their problems were complicated further because it felt like every time Penn FC had an offensive opportunity, they were ruled offside. They would ultimately have nine offsides calls for the evening.
Richmond’s game plan could have been derailed in the 14th minute when they had to sub of Heviel Cordoves due to injury, but Koby Osei-Wusu turned in a solid performance in his place. And it turned out they didn’t need a striker to score for them as their first goal came courtesy of defender Scott Thomsen. Thomsen rocketed a free kick in the 32nd minute that Sean Lewis had no hope of reaching. Penn FC couldn’t find a response for the rest of the half, and they went into the locker room down 0-1.
Penn FC appeared to regroup during halftime, and they started to attack early and often in the second half. But the Richmond defense hung tough and goalkeeper Travis Worra was able to make some essential saves to keep Penn FC from finding an equalizer. It looked like Penn FC had finally scored off of a free kick in the 54th minute, but Lucky Mkosana was ruled offside before he’d headed the ball into the net.
The shot count and the corner count continued to climb for Penn FC, and it felt like it was only a matter of time before they found an equalizer. But all of the offensive pressure opened them up for a counter attack, and the Kickers took advantage in the 74th minute. Brian Shriver picked up the ball off of a defensive miscue and slipped it for Luiz Fernando at the far post. Lewis got a hand on Fernando’s shot, but it still bounced into the net to put Richmond up 2-0.
Penn FC kept up the offensive pressure as they brought on Calvin Rezende for Calvano to give themselves an extra attacker. This paid off quickly as Mkosana earned a penalty in the 77th minute after Alex Lee crashed into him inside the box. Mkosana converted his second penalty of the season to keep his scoring streak alive and pull Penn FC within one goal.
But try as they might, Penn FC could not find that second goal. The boys in blue would finish the night with twenty-two shots, including seven on goal, but Worra stood tall to keep them out of the back of the net for the rest of the evening. He ended up with five saves on the night and he was helped by a few close Penn FC shots either going just wide or coming directly at him.
Penn FC made one more formation change when Harri Hawkins came on for Dan Metzger. Hawkins hung back on defense and that allowed Tribbett to move forward as an extra striker. But almost as soon as they made the change, Osae began to struggle with cramping and he was limited in what he was able to do for the rest of the match. He did have the final scoring opportunity, but his header was wide and the 1-2 scoreline in favor the Kickers would hold.
- Penn FC has only lost at home twice this season and both times it was on a Monday after they picked up a big win the Friday before. Based on their performances in those two matches, they should probably avoid Mondays going forward.
- Hopefully Penn FC enjoyed their time on City Island, because they’re about to go on a seven match away stretch. They won’t be returning to FNB Field for two months.