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Photos & Game Summary: Kickers Win by One and Advance in the Lamar Hunt Open Cup

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Official Kickers Game Summary

KICKERS: 1 (45′ Billhardt)
CHRISTO’S FC: 0

The Richmond Kickers earned a 1-0 win, Wednesday night, over USL League Two side Christos FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup First Round.

The matchup marked the first time the two sides faced off in the Open Cup since the 2017 edition of the competition. The Maryland-based Christos earned an unlikely upset victory in that second-round match at City Stadium. This time, newly-minted Kicker Adrian Bellhardt delivered the redemptive strike.

In the final seconds of the first half, goalkeeper Pablo Jara launched a long ball from his own half to the Christos’ penalty area. Billhardt was opportunistic and cut in towards the net from the top of the 18 as the ball soared past the final Christos defender. He quickly gained possession and shaped a quick shot past the reacting keeper to secure the eventual game winner.

With two crisp second-half saves from Jara, the Kickers maintained a clean sheet and behind Billhardt’s goal, advanced to the second round of the U.S Open Cup.

Through the first third of the match, the Kickers controlled most of the play, maintaining possession of the ball and taking a few well-placed free kicks that just glanced wide.

The Kickers continued to knock on the door in the second half. In the 81st minute, Nick Simmonds strode down the sideline on a breakaway to find an open Nil Vinyals but the strike went just over the crossbar. Simmonds took off again in the 83rd and dragged a low shot that beat the keeper but glided just wide of the left post.

Christos made one more push toward goal in the 90th minute but the Kickers answered. After a header out by Dakota Barnathan, the ball bounced back across a few feet before Jara stopped a Christos strike from the penalty spot. Jara took away the angle and then palmed the ball into the ground before corralling it all together.

The Kickers would control the match through the eight minutes of stoppage time until the final whistle from the head official.

The Kickers are set to host their USL League One regular season home opener on Saturday, March 23 when they host South Georgia Tormenta FC. Kickoff for the match against the Ibises is set for 6 p.m. Tickets for both matches are available at richmondkickers.com/tickets.

Season Tickets are still available for the 2024 season! Fans can unlock massive savings, access to exclusive events, a complimentary CityStadium+ Membership and so much more. Be a part of every out-of-your-seat experience in 2024 with Season Tickets! Additional information can be found at richmondkickers.com/seasontickets.

Stay up to date with all of the Kickers news at RichmondKickers.com and on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.