NORCO, Calif. – Sunday’s meeting between the Los Angeles Blues and the Richmond Kickers saw the two sides play to a second consecutive scoreless draw in a span of three days. As in Friday’s match, both teams focused on their defending, with the USL PRO playoffs less than a week away and not giving up soft goals traditionally being one of the keys to success.
The Blues created the game’s first dangerous opportunity. Former Real Salt Lake man Artur Aghassyan found Peter Byers with a big switch from the right flank and the 26-year-old took a few skillful touches before letting the ball get away from him and allowing Kickers netminder Ryan Jones to make the grab. The visitors had a quality chance of their own around the half-hour mark, Shaka Bangura side-volleying the ball over the frame on a cross whipped in from the right by Evan Harding.
Los Angeles finished the half on a positive note, as Israel Sesay hit a long pass over the top of the Richmond backline that found a streaking Byers and forced Jones to rush off his line and intercept the ball on the edge of the penalty area. However, the home side’s best look of the game came after the break, a nice through-ball by Mike Randolph releasing Byers in the box, only for Jones to come up with a point-blank stop to deny the Antiguan’s wide open opportunity.
It was to be the day’s final noteworthy chance, as both sides look to build on their solid defensive efforts in the upcoming USL PRO playoffs. The Blues travel to take on the Harrisburg City Islanders this coming Friday, August 19, in hopes of advancing to the second round. Kickoff is at 4.30 p.m. PST. Meanwhile, the Richmond Kickers face the Wilmington Hammerheads in their first-round matchup.