Three Things to Kickabout
- Goals – What can you say that hasn’t already been said? Ten goals over 18 games. It takes the Kickers on average 162 minutes to score a goal.
- Heat – It’s so hot the Kickers have moved the start time back to 7:45 PM. I’m sure they’ve done that before but I can’t remember when.
- Swansea – A good number of starters played in a meaningless game on Wednesday so they’ll be nice and tired for the league game on Saturday.
I see nothing good coming of this combination of a previous Wednesday game, Hades level heat, and utter lack of Richmond scoring. Bethlehem 2 – Kickers 0.
Official Kickers Preview
The Richmond Kickers (2-10-6) return to USL action Saturday night as they host Bethlehem Steel FC (8-6-3). Due to excessive heat in the forecast, the Richmond Kickers have changed the kickoff time to 7:45 p.m. The original kickoff time was previously listed for 7:00 p.m. Gates will open at 6:00pm with live music, food trucks and over a dozen craft beers on tap. As a bonus, tickets purchased for the Swansea City AFC exhibition match on July 19 can be exchanged at Will Call on Saturday for free admission. Additionally, tickets can be upgraded for a VIP Mini Suite Experience for $20, including small bites, craft beer and access to a VIP party area behind the south goal. The match can be viewed online on the USL Match Center. Tickets are available online at RichmondKickers.com.
Since joining the USL in 2016, Bethlehem holds a slight advantage over the Kickers with one win and two draws. The teams last met July 1 in Bethlehem as the Kickers took a point on the road in a 1-1 draw. Richmond netted the first goal in the 40th minute as Sunny Jane slotted the ball through three defenders to find Luiz Fernando and he calmly put it away. Steel FC leveled the score in the 52nd minute when Aaron Jones scored on a free kick.
Richmond has a quick turnaround following Wednesday night’s 1-2 loss to the Premier League’s Swansea City AFC at City Stadium in front of a crowd of 8,119. Franck Tayou scored the lone goal for the Kickers in the 69th minute off a cross from Finnlay Wyatt. The Kickers last USL match was on the road at the Harrisburg City Islanders July 15. Despite putting four shots on goal, Harrisburg edged the Kickers 0-1 after a goal in the 76th minute from Ropapa Mensah.
Steel FC comes into Saturday’s match off a 1-1 draw at home against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds last Saturday. The Riverhounds took the lead in the 24th minute from a goal by Chevaugh Walsh. Bethlehem got back into the match after James Chambers converted a penalty in the 27th minute to draw level.
Richmond is on the road for their next match, as they travel to face the Charlotte Independence next Wednesday, July 26 at the Sportsplex at Matthews for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. The Kickers return to City Stadium next Saturday, hosting Saint Louis FC for their first meeting in 2017. Both matches will be available on the USL Match Center, as well as next Saturday’s match being available on the WTVR CBS 6.3 subchannel (Comcast 206, Verizon FiOS 466). Tickets and more information can be found at RichmondKickers.com.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Richmond: Forward Franck Tayou (#70) scored his second goal in a Kickers shirt Wednesday night against Swansea City AFC. Tayou signed midseason for the Kickers, scoring in stoppage time of his debut against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He the second half of the 2016 season with San Antonio FC, scoring five goals in 17 appearances. Rookie midfielder Finnlay Wyatt (#12) had the assist Wednesday to set up Tayou’s goal against Swansea. A former Richmond Kickers youth player, Wyatt scored 11 goals and had 13 assists in 53 appearances for Longwood University. Now in his fourth season in Richmond, midfielder Samuel Asante (#28) has 13 appearances, 12 of which were starts. He has three goals and five assists during his time in Richmond, after spending the 2013 season with the Charlotte Eagles.
Bethlehem: Defender Hugh Roberts (#42) makes his return to Richmond, where he spent three seasons and contributed three goals and one assist over 86 appearances. This season, Roberts has seen 14 appearances and scored on one occasion. Leading Steel FC in scoring, forward Seku Conneh (#36) has scored seven goals in 15 games this season. Capped twice by the Liberian National Team, Conneh only saw 18 appearances scoring only on two occasions. Defender Aaron Jones (#19) scored his first professional goal against the Kickers in their previous meeting on July 1. Jones was selected in the Second Round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft from Clemson University, where he scored four goals and added seven assists in 39 appearances.
Gates will open at 6:00pm with live music, food trucks and over a dozen craft beers on tap. As a bonus, tickets purchased for the Swansea City AFC exhibition match on July 19 can be exchanged at Will Call on Saturday for free admission.
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