A Wet and Wild Saturday Night at Toyota

Toyota Stadium continues to be a tough place for opposing teams to play in as Lexington SC gets the narrow 1-0 victory over the free-falling Richmond Kickers – who have now lost 3 straight matches and are winless in their last 9. The victory moves Lexington (7-6-11, 27 points) out of the bottom 3 of the league up to 9th and drops the Kickers (6-9-10, 27 points) down into 10th. Coach Stockley’s side moves to 6-4-2 at home on the year, suitable for the 3rd best record in the entire league.

The match had it all, from a 1-hour lightning delay to the first half played in a mix of drizzle to a downpour, two possible saves of the week nominations, and 6 yellow cards shown. My voice was sore and soaked down to the bone, but it was one of the season’s most fun matches. The lightning delay started mere seconds from kickoff, which delayed the start of the match from 7 pm to 7:55 start, and many LSC fans began to worry because the last lightning delay at home was the match for which we no longer speak (Tormenta), but the cards were in the boys favor last night.
The 1st half was a tightly fought match, with both sides not giving an inch to the other, with the keeper battle between Knight and Palmquist (no Fitzgerald or Terzaghi for the Kickers last night) on full display as Lexington managed 5 shots and Richmond 6 in just the first half of action with Knight keeping the match level in the 28th minute sending a shot by Landon Johnson of Richmond, over the bar. However, credit must be given to the Kicker’s backline as Lexington was the more dangerous attacking side in the first half, but Richmond’s high backline press snuffed out many Lexington chances.
The 2nd half (with no rain) was different from the first. Lexington came out of the half on a mission to not let another team use them as a turning-around game. Lexington’s counter-attacking abilities were on full display as they would get the ball off Richmond and then put instant pressure on the backline, forcing 3 blocks, 15 clearances, and a save by the Richmond defense in just the 2nd half. The save by Palmquist will be the save of the week as he robbed Lexington captain Charlie Machell (who was forcing him to work all night) of his first goal of the year off in the 74th minute.
However, the two biggest moments of the 2nd half belong to Ates Diouf and Amal Knight. Diouf was fouled inside the box by Dakota Barnathan (picking up his 2nd yellow of the match) in the 81st minute, drawing a penalty kick that he would take himself to bag his 10th goal of the year, become the first double-digit goalscorer in Lexington SC history, and tying him 5th in the league with Terzaghi (RIC), Castro (GVL), and Chaney (MAD). 
Not to go down quietly, Richmond made the next 10 minutes very stressful for Lexington fans as they tried to find the equalizer that would never come. The last 10 minutes also saw one of the most questionable yellow cards I have seen – first, in the 89th minute, Richmond was awarded a free kick inside their box, and Balogun tossed the ball (a little fast) to the Richmond keeper. Knight silenced Richmond’s final attempt at an equalizer in the 95th minute, saving a header by Chandler O’Dwyer to secure the shutout, the 3 points, and Man of the Match.
The victory not only saw Lexington finally climb out of the 10th place rut they have been in for the past month, but it also moved the Boys in Green to 3-1-1 in their last 5, with 3 wins within their previous 4 matches while maintaining their undefeated streak (3-0) while wearing the All Black kits.
Post-match, Coach Stockley spoke on the resilience of his side, saying – “I’ve said this all season, I’ve stood in front of this great crowd that we have and I’ve spoken about how resilient (the team is) and that’s something that, when we look at the end of the season, is a huge part of our identity and what we want to do and how we want to represent the community,” Stockley continued. “If we get punched in the nose we want to get back up and carry on. We talked about falling forward. Last weekend, that was a punch on the nose because we had 60 minutes with 10 men and we didn’t quite break it down, but we knew coming here was a very tough game against a quality side and got a clean sheet, 1-0, (for) three points and we’re onto the next.”
Lexington has consistently shown this resilience, but what is flying under the radar from this victory is the side adaptive abilities that Charlie Machell emphasized when he appeared on the podcast a few weeks ago and spoke post-match: “It’s an honor to be captain of this club. Obviously the win makes that a lot sweeter. Proud to lead the lads out there tonight and get that massive 3 points. You’ve seen it all season, we’ve got massive players…in training we push each other all the time…every time someone that is coming off (the pitch) or coming on we know the quality is going to be the same.” 
Man of the Match – Amal Knight
Lexington will continue their push for the playoffs (yes, there still is a chance) against Greenville at home on Friday, September 1st, at 7 pm EST/6 pm CST. Check-in later this week for our preview of that matchup, and stick to Bluegrass Soccer Cast (@BGSoccerCast on all social media platforms) for full coverage of Lexington SC, and everything soccer in our beautiful Commonwealth. 


  • Jon Hunt

    Jon Hunt is an avid and enthusiastic soccer podcast host. Originally from the Detroit area, he now resides in central Kentucky. Jon brings passion and his love of soccer history to the Bluegrass Soccer Cast community. His ultimate goal is to continue the growth of soccer in America with a focus of the thriving soccer scene in Kentucky. #ProRelForUSA

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