TOP 3: TRIBUTES, DEBUTS AND HEROICS Kofi Nti Honored, More Debuts and Goalkeeping Heroics
Written by Patrick English
Louisville midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye received Oscar Jimenez’s corner and shot twice at Richmond defender Christopher Durkin, whose twisting block put his hand in the way of the shot. Referee Danielle Chesky pointed to the spot, and former Kickers midfielder George Davis IV slotted the ensuing penalty into the bottom right corner of Eric Klenofsky’s goal for a 1-0 Louisville win.
Kofi Nti Honored
The game was dedicated to the loving memory of former pro player and youth soccer coach, Kofi Nti, who passed away suddenly on March 26. Kickers players wore black arm bands during the game and fans paid tribute with a standing applause at the 20th minute, in honor of Nti’s jersey number. A special halftime presentation followed in which the Nti family was offered a custom-made #20 jersey. The 40 year-old from Accri, Ghana coached hundreds of youth players of all ages over 12 years with the Kickers. Nti’s legacy will live on as the Kickers Financial Assistance Program will now be named the Kofi Nti Financial Assistance Program, assisting in providing funds for youth players to play in the different programs.
After coming on for two minutes in the season opener, Paddy McCann made his first start for the Kickers on Saturday, taking a central midfield position in Leigh Cowlishaw’s 5-4-1. He played all 90 minutes and placed second in the team in touches with 64 and third in passes with 49. McCann also put Richmond’s best shot on goal in the 19th minute when he took a free kick and shot it right at Louisville goalkeeper Tim Dobrowolski, who had to make a diving save.
An ankle sprain delayed striker OIiver’s Richmond debut, but he came on in the 75th minute to bolster the Kickers attack. Despite only touching the ball four times, Oliver had Richmond’s best chance in front of goal in the 90th minute when he received a Luiz Fernando pass right in front of the net. However, the nerves got to the Brazilian striker as his shot went over the crossbar
Eric Klenofsky Heroics
Eric Klenofsky made his first professional start in goal for the Kickers on Saturday, loaned from D.C. United. Louisville’s strong attack tested him throughout the game, causing Klenofsky to make several diving saves. The best chance Louisville had in the run of play came in the 57th minute as Brian Ownby collected the ball outside the Richmond box and sent a shot in. Klenofsky was there to get just enough on the shot and send it into the far post and Evan Lee cleared it away. Following that, the next best effort came in the 76th minute off a Louisville corner. Oscar Jimenez took the sent piece and sent the ball to the near post where Sean Totsch bicycle kicked it, leading to Paolo DelPiccolo’s header. Klenofsky just grabbed it on the line, keeping the score at 0-0 for the moment.