During Penn FC’s current stretch away from City Island they have only managed to secure one point in five matches. Despite this, Penn FC isn’t truly playing what I would call “bad” soccer. They’ve been close in each of their matches, and they’re only a lucky bounce or two away from taking points in most of these matches. The fact that they continue to come away with nothing each time has resulted in mounting, nearly palpable frustration for the men out on the field.
Here is today's lineup presented by @FlyHIA, for our match-up against @RichmondKickers!#RICvPEN | #ThisIsPennFC | #USL pic.twitter.com/OJ0dPv3SyP— Penn FC (@PennFCOfficial) August 18, 2018
Penn FC didn’t rest on their laurels after the disappointing results for their recent matches, and they made a few interesting changes on defense and offense. Young Ghanaian Haruna Shaibu took up a major role on defense after not starting since back in May. Ken Tribbett and Harri Hawkins were not in the eighteen, which could mean they had nagging injuries keeping them out. Paulo Jr. returned to the starting lineup after being left out against FC Cincinnati.
It was the fourth time that Penn FC and Richmond clashed in 2018, so mother nature decided to keep things interesting by throwing an early curve ball. Lightning near City Stadium suspended the match at the five minute mark and delayed the proceedings by about forty minutes. It just seemed particularly cruel for the players who’d spent all that time loosening up only to go back into the locker room after five minutes. It should have also spelled doom for Penn FC, as the City Islanders had struggled when facing weather delays during the last few seasons.
After a second round of warmups, play resumed much as it had before the lightning. Penn FC controlled the tempo for much of the early going with Richmond taking the initiative around the fifteen minute mark. The first big breakthrough came under unlikely circumstances in the 23rd minute as Penn FC earned a penalty off of a Richmond handball. Richmond goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg also earned himself a yellow card for cleaning the ball before the shot. Lucky Mkosana converted the penalty for his ninth goal of the season and Penn FC took the early lead.
But the only lead of the night for the boys in blue was short lived. Richmond was awarded a penalty of their own in the 26th minute when Kyle Venter tugged on Heviel Cordoves inside the box. Venter got a yellow and Brian Shriver converted the penalty to equalize. But Shriver and Cordoves weren’t done yet. Just a few minutes later, Shriver worked his way up the left side (and, according to the announcers, making stiff contact with Marco Franco) before slipping a ball for an open Cordoves to finish and put Richmond up 2-1.
Penn FC didn’t get any really dangerous chances before the half, but they pushed hard after their typical halftime regrouping session. This week it was Walter Ramirez who made his presence felt when he won another penalty for Penn FC in the 53rd minute after forcing them into a handball on a low cross. He took the penalty himself and his first ever goal for Penn FC knotted things up at two.
A Penn FC comeback looked to be in the cards, especially after Tommy Heinemann subbed in in the 62nd minute, but both sides stayed deadlocked. The eventual game winner for Richmond finally came in the 80th minute and it was made possible by Luiz Fernando, who has been a thorn in Penn FC’s side all season.. This time Fernando ran down a pass at the endline that Penn FC goalkeeper Romu Peiser came off his line to try and defend against. Fernando kept it in and slipped it back for Fred Owusu Sekyere who finished into the open net to put Richmond up 3-2.
Penn FC had their chances in the final ten minutes, which makes the final resulat all the more frustrating. It looked like they found the equalizer off of a unique sequence in the 83rd minute. Ramirez completed a deep throw in off of the back of Richmond’s Brian Shriver. Ramirez then crossed it to an open Heinemann, but Spangenberg made an excellent save to preserve the win for Richmond.
- I’m just going to go with one thought this week. Penn FC has been playing good soccer over the last few weeks, but their inability to come away with points has put them in a hole that’ll be tough to dig their way out of. They still have that nine match home stand to look forward to, but they’d have much more to look forward to if they’d managed to bank away just a few more points during this difficult stretch on the road.