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Kickers face New York Red Bulls 2 on Saturday

After a long road trip the Kickers are back in town and hoping/praying to turn their season around.

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Three Things to Kickabout

  1. Offense where for art thou? – This will be on our list until it’s no longer a question. Good news: Kamara scored a hat trick for the Kickers against Ottawa on Saturday. Bad News: The Kickers still managed to lose. Worst News: Kamara has been called up MLS Affiliate DCU for the fore seeable future.
  2. Streak – The last time the Kickers won a game was April 22nd. A whole month without a win, including a loss against an amateur team FC Chistos in the Open Cup.
  3. Heart – Two Kickers players reached out to their most ardent fans the Red Army to apologize for their play this season and in particular the Open Cup. The players definitely have the heart and desire to win but that simply hasn’t been enough this year. There is still time to fix the situation but time is limited.

Prediction

With Kamara I would have put our odds at about even. Without Kamara the best case scenario would be a draw. The Red Bulls were the top team last year and although they’re off to a slow start this year I don’t see the Kickers coming out on top. Richmond 0 – New York Red Bulls 2.

Official Kickers Preview

 The Richmond Kickers (2-5-4) return to City Stadium this Saturday as they host New York Red Bulls II (4-5-2) and the Kickers Fiesta, presented by Chicken Fiesta. The party starts at 5:30 p.m. with live salsa music, all-you-can-eat tacos, Modelo at 5:30 p.m. Then, the Kickers take on NYRBII at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com. This match will be available to watch live through the USL Match Center.
Richmond holds a slight advantage over NYRBII, with a record of 3-2-1. The clubs have met on two occasions at City Stadium, both of which being wins for the Kickers. The last meeting at City Stadium ended with a late stoppage time goal from Jackson Eskay, having just come into the game in the 89th minute. This would be the last loss of the season for NYBII as they went on to hoist the 2016 USL Cup. The Kickers traveled to the new home of NYRBII, MSU Soccer Park for their second match of the 2017 season, ultimately falling to the home side 0-1 after a 69th minute goal from Zeiko Lewis.

After playing three straight matches on the road in six days, the Kickers return home to City Stadium. Richmond earned a point at both Rochester on Sunday and Toronto last Wednesday, but ultimately fell at Ottawa Fury FC 3-5 last Saturday. Alhaji Kamara put together a hat trick performance assisted by Fred Owusu Sekyere and Jackson Eskay, the first by a Kickers player since 2015 followed by a penalty kick save from Matt Turner, but the Kickers were unable to stop the in-form Fury offense, allowing five goals for the first time since a 2-5 defeat on the road to the Charleston Battery August 13, 2013.

Red Bulls II hit the road following a stretch of three matches at home. After dropping matches to LA Galaxy II and Ottawa Fury FC by a goal each, they were able to take a victory over the Eastern Conference leaders Charleston Battery, ending the Battery’s seven-match unbeaten run. Right before halftime, Charleston were able to take the lead. Then second half goals from Junior Flemmings and Derrick Etienne, Jr. sealed the victory and all three points for New York. NYRBII are winless on the road this season with a record of 0-2-2.

Following Saturday’s match, the Kickers are on the road to take on long-time rivals Charleston Battery at MUSC Health Stadium Saturday, June 10 at 7pm. This match will be available on the WTVR CBS 6 main channel after a landmark TV deal between the Kickers and WTVR CBS 6. The Kickers will be back at City Stadium June 17 to host the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the first time at City Stadium. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.

Players to Watch

Richmond: Midfielder Fred Owusu Sekyere (#4) is coming off a two-assist match in the Kickers 3-5 loss at Ottawa, serving in the balls to open and close an Alhaji Kamara hat trick. He has made an appearance in all 11 matches for Richmond in 2017, scoring two goals and assisting on three more. Now in his third season with the Kickers, the former VCU Ram has made over 70 appearances scoring four goals and adding 12 assists overall. Capping off his first start of the 2017 season, midfielder Jackson Eskay (#24) assisted on Kamara’s second goal at Ottawa. Signing after a successful tryout, the William & Mary product went on to make 14 appearances in 2016, with his lone goal of the season coming as a late game winner in stoppage time against New York Red Bulls II. Defender Evan Lee (#8) has made five starts in 2017 in eight matches played. The Toledo, Ohio native signed with the Kickers after a season at FC Cincinnati where he was named the club’s Most Improved Player, after making 14 appearances and contributing to eight shutouts.

New York: Leading New York in scoring for a second straight season, forward Brandon Allen (#21) has six goals in nine appearances this season. Netting a hat trick in the 2016 USL Cup Final victory, Allen scored a team high 15 goals during the 2016 USL regular season after signing a homegrown contract with the parent club in December of 2015. The son and nephew of former Kickers players Derrick and Darrell Etienne and born in Richmond, midfielder Derrick Etienne, Jr. (#7) has played in three matches with NYRBII after being loaned down from the first team this season, netting his first goal and a game winner in a 2-1 home win over the current first-place Charleston Battery in New York’s last outing. Now in his third season, the former Red Bulls academy and University of Virginia player made 24 appearances scoring on five occasions and adding six assists in 2016. Forward Zeiko Lewis (#12) was selected by the Red Bulls in the first round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft as the number 17 overall pick. He made his professional debut, and scored his first professional goal against the Kickers on April 1 of this season which would prove to be the game winner. Playing four years at Boston College, Lewis made 73 appearances scoring 18 goals and a school record 26 assists over his college career.

Ticket Deal

All you can eat tacos and two beer for $22. Hit the image to purchase.

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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.

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Two Gun Incidents in Two Days in James River Park

There were no injuries and at least two arrests in the incidents.

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In case your COVID-19 internment wasn’t giving you enough to stress about we’ve seen two firearm incidents this week in James River Park.

The first one was reported by RTD.

A man and a woman from Ohio have been accused of discharging a firearm in the James River Park System off Riverside Drive in South Richmond.

Shortly before 11 a.m. on Tuesday, officers were patrolling the park in the 4200 block of Riverside Drive when two people discharged a gun “on the trail area” near the West 42nd Street entrance, the authorities said. The police did not further specify the location in the park, but the area runs along the south side of the James River.

“They were not trying to shoot at anyone else or each other,” said police spokeswoman Chelsea Rarrick. “It was reckless discharge.”

Tony Isaac Jr., 27, of Springfield, Ohio, was charged with discharging a firearm in a public place, possession of a firearm in a city park and possession of a firearm as a felon, police said.

Jayona M. Franklin, 19, of Xenia, Ohio, was charged with discharging a firearm in a public place and possession of a firearm in a city park.

As someone who walks that trail a bunch the fact that “They were not trying to shoot at anyone else or each other,” doesn’t make me feel any better.

The other incident is equally scary and occurred yesterday on Belle Isle.

From the Woodland Heights Neighborhood Association Facebook.

A group of 10 or 12 teens hanging out and this young man brandishing a handgun. He was pointing it at hikers, kayakers and yelling “Pop,pop, pop!” Loud enough you could hear him over the rapids. The police showed up but I don’t know what came of it.

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Arrest Made in Forest Hill Avenue Rape

The incident occurred in the 4000 block of Forest Hill Avenue on August 4, 2019.

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From RPD:

Richmond Police Department detectives, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force and Second Precinct patrol officers, have made an arrest in connection with a rape that happened last August.

Victor M. Manuel, 32, of the 3300 block of Shady Creek Road, Chesterfield, VA was apprehended today. He has been charged with rape in connection with an incident that occurred in the 4000 block of Forest Hill Avenue on August 4, 2019. His booking photo is attached.

Detectives want to thank the public for their assistance in this case.

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Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Westover Hills
Common Name:  Common Starling or European Starling
Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 7.5–9.1 in
Weight: 2.0–3.6 oz
Wingspan: 12–17 in

Quick Facts Courtesy of All About Birds

  • All the European Starlings in North America descended from 100 birds set loose in New York’s Central Park in the early 1890s. The birds were intentionally released by a group who wanted America to have all the birds that Shakespeare ever mentioned. There are now over 200 million European Starlings and they range from Alaska to Mexico.
  • Because of their recent arrival in North America, all of our starlings are closely related. Genetically, individuals from Virginia are nearly indistinguishable from starlings sampled in California, 3,000 miles away. Such little genetic variation often spells trouble for rare species, but seems to offer no ill effects to starlings so far.
  • Starlings are strong fliers that can get up to speeds of 48 mph.
  • In studies of starlings’ sense of taste, scientists have discovered that they can taste salt, sugars, citric acid, and tannins (bitter compounds that occur in many fruits, including acorns and grapes). They can tell the difference between sucrose (table sugar) and other kinds of sugars – helpful since starlings lack the ability to digest sucrose.
  • Starlings are great vocal mimics: individuals can learn the calls of up to 20 different species. Birds whose songs starlings often copy include the Eastern Wood-Pewee, Killdeer, meadowlarks, Northern Bobwhite, Wood Thrush, Red-tailed Hawk, American Robin, Northern Flicker, and many others.

 

Benjamin at Richmond SPCA

Behold! The bold and beautiful…erm…handsome Benjamin! Have you been yearning for a pal who will cuddle up with you at night? Is your heart aching for some TLC that can only be cured by toe pads and whiskers? Well then we have the best little buddy for you! If you’re interested in finally taking home your new best friend, come ask to meet with Benjamin today!

Age: 8 years, 3 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Black
Declawed: No
ID: 43463251

Adopt Benjamin at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

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