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 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.
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).
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