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U.S. Open Cup soccer: Fredericksburg Gunners at Richmond Kickers
BY JIM McCONNELL
RICHMOND--A home match against the Fredericksburg Gunners was the perfect tonic for the Richmond Kickers' moribund offense.
After scoring only nine goals in its first eight USL Second Division games, Richmond found the back of the net three times in the first 24 minutes last night and cruised to a 3-0 victory in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup at Sports Backers Stadium.
Eliot Paschalis, Stanley Nyazamba and David Bulow scored for the Kickers, who remained unbeaten at home this season and advanced to the second round June 24 against the Western Mass Pioneers.
"Getting those three early goals was great," said Richmond defender Kelvin Jones, a Massaponax High School alumnus. "The last two games we had a lot of great chances but we couldn't put the ball in the net, then we'd make one defensive mistake and were chasing the rest of the game. It was so much less stressful tonight."
Chancellor graduate and rising James Madison University sophomore Ken Manahan made three saves for Fredericksburg, a second-year Premier Development League team making its first Open Cup appearance.
"Obviously, in the back of your mind, you know they play on a different level," Manahan said. "Once we got past the shock of who we were playing, I thought things went well for us."
Richmond set the tone early by attacking at will against the visiting Gunners. Paschalis opened the scoring by converting an assist from Bulow in the 11th minute, then Nyazamba made it 2-0 by knocking down a clearing attempt and beating Manahan with a right-footed shot nine minutes later.
The lanky Nyazamba, a rookie from Zimbabwe by way of Lee University, also had a role in producing the third goal when Fredericksburg defender Jonathan Bownes dumped him in the penalty box.
Bulow easily converted the ensuing penalty kick, and with more than half of the opening period left to play, it appeared that the rout was on.
The Gunners, however, didn't go quietly.
Midfielder Ryan Johnson ripped a shot just wide of the left post in the 34th minute. Midfielder Cameron Petty hit the post midway through the second half.
But while Fredericksburg outshot Richmond 4-2 after halftime, the Gunners couldn't get a shot past Kickers keeper Ronnie Pascale.