Richmond Kickers striker Kevin Jeffrey capitalized on tonight’s dreadful weather at James Hallford Stadium to score both his team’s goals in a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks that keeps the visitors top of the First Division.
The loss, a third in a row, means Atlanta remains with 18 points. Almost in tandem with a strengthening wind, the game’s excitement intensified near the mid-half mark. Gary Brooks, as expected, was in the thick of Atlanta’s attack – after 33 minutes he missed a great opportunity from a corner, smashing a 6-yard shot over the target.But the Silverbacks kept up the pressure in the later stages, with a David Hayes long-shot forcing Ronnie Pascale’s best, a tipped save to keep it goalless until halftime.
The wind, however, was a prelude to a more serious problem – rain. And lots of it. A downpour swept the field as a deluge cascaded the stand, all of which didn’t dent the stubborn resolve of intrepid, drenched fans, defiantly beating drums, blowing horns, and clanging bells. Though, the Silverbacks faired less well in the confusion. An opportunistic Jeffrey effort just after the break sent Richmond ahead. By then, the storm was lashing an increasingly slippery surface, making fluid soccer difficult.And again, after 61 minutes, a tame Jeffrey shot doubled the visitors’ lead. A lightning threat then called a half-hour-long halt in the action, though the Silverbacks at least retreated into the locker room boosted by Adilson Delima’s 81st minute goal. From a David Hayes corner, DeLima sailed over a host of defenders to power in a header.
Alas, after the break the hurricane-type weather returned, and with it, the realization that this game would yield no more goals.