The Richmond Kickers (3-11-7) return to City Stadium for the start of a three-match home stand, beginning this Saturday night as they host Orlando City B (5-6-10) and the Social Sports Fest presented by Bon Secours Sports Medicine. The party starts at 5:30 p.m. with interactive games including CLUBWAKA, Major League Bocce, Soccer Billiards, Giant Pong, Futchi and Soccer Darts, plus live music by Pretty Ugly, RVA food trucks and Happy Hour specials on over a dozen craft beers on tap. The Kickers take the field at 7:00 p.m. to take on Orlando. This match will be available on the Kickers Exclusive Television Broadcast Partner WTVR CBS 6 via their 6.3 sub-channel (Comcast 206, Verizon FiOS 466) and streaming online through the USL Match Center. After the match, fans are encouraged to go to Burger Bach in Carytown for the Official Post Game Party. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
What to expect
Saturday’s meeting between the two clubs will be the third all-time meeting, and the first of two meetings this season. Last season, the Kickers took four of a potential six points from the two meetings with Orlando. Anthony Grant notched a goal in the 53rd minute to negate a 44th minute penalty kick goal by Michael Cox to give the Kickers a 1-1 draw in the first-ever meeting with OCB August 21. Current Orlando defender Scott Thomsen was the hero for the Kickers just six days later in Richmond, scoring the game’s only goal in the 77th minute and giving the Kickers all three points as they pushed for a position in the 2016 USL Playoffs.
Raul Gonzalez scored his second goal of the 2017 season last Saturday night as the Kickers took a 1-1 draw on the road at the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Oscar Umar controlled the ball on the sideline before it could go out of play and sent a cross to the center of the field for Patrick McCann. He looked up to find Yudai Imura in front of him with space to move. Imura started to go for goal, instead passing to his left for Gonzalez inside the Riverhounds box, where he turned and cut back towards goal and launched a shot that found the far post side netting in the 65th minute. Pittsburgh found a way back into the match as Stephen Okai scored the game-tying goal in the 82nd minute.
A late, stoppage time game-tying goal by FC Cincinnati prevented Orlando City B from taking all three points on the road this past Saturday, forcing them to settle with a 2-2 draw. Kyle Greig opened the scoring after just six minutes, giving the home side an early lead that only lasted eight minutes as Austin Martz scored his first goal of the season to level the score. Hadji Barry gave OCB the lead in the 55th minute with what they had hoped was the game winner until Danni König scored in the second minute of stoppage time to tie the match up just before the final whistle.
Players to watch
Richmond: Midfielder Raul Gonzalez (#27) scored his second professional goal last Saturday in the Kickers 1-1 draw on the road at Pittsburgh. The University of Memphis product joined the Kickers just after the start of the 2017 season, where he has made 16 appearances with two goals and assist in his rookie season. Gonzalez scored 13 goals and added 13 assists over 65 appearances during four seasons with Memphis. Returning to the starting lineup Saturday, midfielder Yudai Imura (#14) picked up his first assist this season on Gonzalez’s goal. Imura has been limited to just 12 appearances this season due to injuries, following 11 goals and two assists in 30 matches during his breakout 2016 season. The Japanese midfielder signed his first professional contract after a successful trial during the 2015 Pro Combine, going on to make 19 appearances and scoring two goals in his rookie season. Making his first start for Richmond, midfielder Matt Bolduc (#32) has appeared in four matches since signing midseason with the Kickers. Bolduc played in 19 matches with the Harrisburg City Islanders, assisting on one goal in 2016.
Orlando: Defender Scott Thomsen (#63) joined Orlando City B during the off season after spending the second half of the 2016 season in Richmond with the Kickers. Thomsen scored the game winning goal against Orlando last season at City Stadium, his only goal of the season to go with one assist in nine games. Midfielder Paul Clowes (#46) is in his first season with Orlando, scoring one goal in 10 matches, starting in all but one of those. Clowes was drafted by D.C. United with the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft out of Clemson University. He was loaned to the Kickers for one match, making his professional debut March 26. After being waived by United, Clowes signed with the Charlotte Independence for the remainder of the 2016 season. Veteran midfielder and team captain Lewis Neal (#24) joined Orlando City SC originally in 2011 during the club’s inaugural season in USL before making the move to D.C. United in 2012. Neal scored the game winner in both the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Final against Real Salt Lake and to clinch a playoff berth against Columbus Crew SC that season. The England native returned to Orlando in the club’s inaugural MLS season before changing roles for 2016 to join OCB. This season, Neal has scored on one occasion in 14 appearances.
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