Opponent: Toronto FC 2 (0-3-1)
Date/Time: Wednesday, 23rd – 7 PM
Weather Forecast: 51°, mostly cloudy, chance of showers during the day easing off during the evening hours
Tailgate & Red Army Forecast: Low turnout due to a midweek game with some scared off due to the possibility of a rain shower (1 Grill out of 5). The same will hold true for the Red Army attendance wise but supporters that show up for the weekday games in questionable weather are there for the soccer and not as much for the social aspect. Although smaller than usual, they’ll probably sound louder. This Toronto team likes to give up goals so there could be lots to cheer. (3 Smoke Bombs out of 5)
THREE THINGS TO KICK ABOUT
- Goals – So far the Kickers have 5 but also carry with them a -4 goal differential. New York Red Bulls II lead the league with 15 goals. That is a giant gap. The gap between the rest of the pack is much less terrifying. There are 8 teams within 3 goals, so just a little improvement could provide dramatic results.
- In Shriver we Trust – Brian Shriver did it again. This time he scored a zinger from 35 yards out and was nominated for USL Goal of the Week. He lost out to some dodgy ballot stuffing (completely biased reporting by myself) on the part of New York.
- Defense – Last year we could count on the entire Kickers defense. This year it seems the Kickers are putting all the pressure on the goalkeepers. For the most part Worra (despite a rocky start) and now Spangenberg have been up to the tasks. Trevor Spangenberg was incredibly busy in the last game and did take home USL Save of the Week. All that being said, a team can’t depend on their goalkeepers to carry the defense. They need help and so far the Kickers backline has been less than stellar.
Toronto FC2 is bad. We’re talking last year’s Kickers bad. Although Toronto is only one point behind in the standings they’ve only managed 1 goal and given up 8. If the Kickers don’t win this one at home after a week’s worth of rest, buckle up for a season of misery.
Kickers 2 – Toronto 0
My W/L prediction record to date: 33.33% correct
KICKERS OFFICIAL PREVIEW
The Richmond Kickers (1-3-1) return to City Stadium Wednesday night as they host Toronto FC II (0-3-1) and Happy Hour. The party starts at 5:30 pm with interactive games including CLUBWAKA, Soccer Billiards, Cornhole, Giant Jenga, Giant Pong, and Soccer Darts, plus live music by Rear View Mirror and Happy Hour specials on over a dozen craft beers on tap before kickoff between the Kickers and TFC II. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com. This match will be streamed online through ESPN+.
The Kickers lead the series against Toronto with a record of 4-2-1 since the teams began play in 2015. Richmond would take four points between the two meetings in 2017. The first meeting came on the road with both teams battling to a scoreless draw in Canada May 24. Sunny Jane and Matt Bolduc scored in each half to give the home team the 2-1 victory August 19. Jordan Hamilton scored the lone goal for Toronto in that meeting.
Richmond is coming off an 11-day break since their last match, April 14 on the road against the defending USL Cup Champions Louisville City FC. Brian Shriver scored his second goal in as many matches in the 18th minute as he passed the ball up for Raul Gonzalez, who then left it for him to take the shot from about 35 yards out from the left side of the field into the far post. That would be the first goal Louisville would give up this season, through four matches. Cameron Lancaster would be brought down inside the Richmond box, leading to a Kyle Smith penalty kick goal in the 64th minute that pulled the teams level. Former Kickers midfielder George Davis IV netted the game winning goal in stoppage time to take all of the points for Louisville.
Toronto played to a scoreless draw last Wednesday night, April 18 against North Carolina FC at BMO Field. Mariano Mino made his debut for TFC II and nearly helped to give them the advantage in the 23rd minute as he slipped the ball to Shaan Hundal, but the effort was sent over the bar. Angelo Cavalluzzo needed to make a pair of saves in stoppage time to preserve the shutout and the draw.
The Kickers return to action Sunday, May 6 as they make the trip north to take on Bethlehem Steel FC for a 5:00 p.m. kickoff. This will be the 750th match for the Kickers, now in their 26th season. Following that match, the Kickers return to City Stadium Saturday, May 12 to host the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Bark and Brew Fest. The pre-game party starts at 5:30 p.m. with live music by Rear View Mirror, pet-centric vendors and RVA food trucks including legendary burgers from Carytown Burgers & Fries, Mediterranean-inspired kebobs and sandwiches from Sticks Kebob Shop and all-natural smoothies from Pulp Fiction. Then, both teams take the field for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Tickets are on sale now for that match at RichmondKickers.com.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Richmond: Midfielder Raul Gonzalez (#27) recorded his first assist of the season April 14 on the road against Louisville City FC. He also has scored one goal this season in five appearances this season. Gonzalez joined the Kickers just after the start of the 2017 season that saw him score 2 goals and add one assist in 24 appearances. Picking up the USL Save of the Week for Week 5, goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg (#1) made seven saves in his first appearance for the Kickers in three years. Spangenberg spent the 2017 season with Puerto Rico FC, posting a 1.24 goals against average in a combined 33 starts and 10 shutouts. Defender Mekeil Williams (#55) made his second appearance of the season against a Louisville after international duty with Trinidad and Tobago, playing 90 minutes and making four clearances and three interceptions. Williams came to the Kickers after spending the last two seasons with the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer, where he made 38 appearances and logged 2,865 minutes over the last two seasons.
Toronto: Midfielder Matthew Srbely (#50) scores the only goal for TFC II in the season opener on the road against New York Red Bulls II. The 19 year old Canadian has made three appearances this season for Toronto. Goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo (#80) recorded his and the club’s first shutout of the season in their last outing against North Carolina FC. Now in his third season, Cavalluzzo had six clean sheets through 19 matches in 2017, his first full professional season after joining from the TFC Academy. Defender Robert Boskovic (#49)made a game-high 15 clearances over 90 minutes in TFC II’s 0-0 draw against North Carolina FC. The Toronto FC Academy product has made 29 appearances for TFC II over the last three seasons, joining the club on an Academy Contract.
At least the part that includes the Kickers. There are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference.
Happy Hour is this Wednesday night and Loveland Distributing is giving away a Deschutes Brewing Fire Pit to one lucky winner, picked randomly from anyone who preorders their tickets to Wednesday’s match against Toronto FC II!
The party starts at 5:30 pm with interactive games including CLUBWAKA, Soccer Billiards, Cornhole, Giant Jenga, Giant Pong, and Soccer Darts, plus live music by Rear View Mirror and Happy Hour specials on over a dozen craft beers on tap before kickoff!