RICHMOND, Va. – Penn FC dropped out of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after its comeback attempt was stalled by the Richmond Kickers’ 83rd-minute go-ahead goal which gave the Kickers a 3-2 victory.
Richmond’s Luiz Fernando was opportunistic on the top of the Richmond attack and netted a brace early to give the home side a 2-0 lead in the opening 22 minutes. In the 15th minute, Conor Shanosky played a long ball up the field, and Fernando beat Sean Lewis to a 50-50 ball. Yudai Imura found Fernando in the middle of the box seven minutes later, and Fernando placed his attempt inside the bottom left corner.
Penn FC battled back and cut the deficit in the 33rd minute. The ball was kicked into the air at close range, and Jorge Rivera beat his defender to the ball and headed it into the net. Down 2-1, Penn FC walked into the dressing room at halftime with momentum.
Penn FC were the aggressors to start the second half. In the opening 10 minutes, the team earned 57 percent possession, three shots with two on goal while holding the Kickers to zero shots. However, the Blue and White nearly fell down 3-1, in the 58th minute, after Raul Gonzalez headed a cross past Lewis. The line judge raised his flag before Gonzalez made contact with the ball and the goal was negated.
Two minutes later, Penn FC was on the counter attack and Fabio De Sousa -- in his professional debut -- lofted a long ball from midfield towards the box. Rivera lost his defender and timed his run onside to the ball. Rivera then juked the charging keeper and passed the ball into the net.
The stalemate held and the match was almost destined for extra time, but Richmond’s only shot on goal in the second half proved to be the game winner. In the 83rd minute, Austin Yearwood dribbled the ball to the backline and crossed the ball into the box. Heviel Cordoves received the cross in the middle of the box and deflected the ball into the net.
De Sousa nearly earned Penn FC’s second equalizer deep into stoppage time. The forward headed a ball from the center of the box, but his attempt missed just to the right of the goal.
Penn FC will not have long to dwell on the Open Cup loss. The team heads to Pittsburgh to face the unbeaten Riverhounds SC on Saturday, May 26 for 2018’s second iteration of the Keystone Derby.