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Hills & Heights

Preview: Kickers vs Toronto FC 2

Toronto FC II (0-3-1) is in town to face your Richmond Kickers (1-3-1) on Wednesday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 PM.




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)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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


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 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


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!




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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Fatal Accident at Dillard’s in Stony Point Fashion Park

The victim was a maintenance tech working on the escalator.



Details from Richmond Fire Department



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James River Park System has a new Superintendent, Giles Garrison

Giles Garrison was previously an Executive Director for both Groundwork RVA and Storefront for Community Design.



The new Superintendent of the James River Park System is Giles Garrison. Learn about what makes her tick in own words and in a video from Friends of James River Parks.

Courtesy of Friends of James River Parks

Time vs. Day 1

35 million years ago the James River was formed when a massive asteroid hurtled into what is today the Chesapeake Bay, shooting cracks through the Earth’s crust and forming the topography of our state. Water plumed into the air and cascaded across the land, eventually streaming into a three-hundred-and-forty-mile river that runs from the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western Virginia, through Richmond, on its way back to the Bay.

15 thousand years ago, mastodon and massive prehistoric beavers roamed the fall line where you and I live. In that time, enormous quadrupeds ruled Richmond’s roost, and humans made their way in tiny nomadic families that survived by their spears and their wits.

416 years ago, two worlds collided when a ragtag group of English colonists found their way to the river’s mouth and sailed into what was then known as the Powhatan River, named for the Chief who maintained a sweeping alliance of diverse Native American societies spanning from the falls East to the Tidewater.

13 years later in 1619 twenty men, the first Africans in British America, stepped from that river onto land at Point Comfort. They were forcibly brought to Virginia by European traders to become the labor in the Giles campingcolony’s brutal plantation economy.

The James River tells the story of the people who lived America’s tumultuous and violent beginning.

What stories does the James tell us today? I bet you have one.

30 years ago, during a winter like this one, my brother and I set out to pull a log out of the James River at Flat Rock, which is what we called the big flat rock under the Nickel Bridge. What I remember is that while we were extremely professional, we quickly were in water up to our waists and our parents decided we had better head home. Stu and I took the log with us, all the way up 42nd Street to our house on Springhill Avenue. My stepdad made us each Honorary River Rat Club certificates which we hung on the kitchen wall.

The James River Park System is many things to Richmond, and it has been many things to me. My favorite time of year is when the paw paws turn yellow and seem to hover in the air over the Buttermilk Trail, making you feel transported to a magical place. Sometimes when I walk along parts of the Pipeline or the trails at Ancarrows Landing, I feel the hauntedness of the James River, the experience of acute loss that occurred here for Richmond’s African-American forebears. This is a part of our origin story.Giles overlooking the T-Pott bridge

The story continues to unfold. Running the Park’s trails and climbing Manchester Wall have been some of the most joyful times in my life because they happen in a place that is completely unique to Richmond and for all to enjoy. The James River Park System is place where you can lose yourself and find yourself, in company or on your own, always in nature. Today this Park, and all of our parks, are places where reconciliation and reconnection are possible.

When I think of the footsteps I follow on day one of this amazing job, I feel a great sense of humility. Ralph White, a true river spirit in tall white socks, sits among the pantheon of great Richmond leaders this city has seen. Nathan Burrell, superintendent #2, was a hands-on reformer and has long been a role model to me, and I hope will continue to be a mentor. Bryce Wilk, our most recent Superintendent, is a rising star in Richmond’s Parks Department and continues in the role of Manager of Southern District Operations. I’m overjoyed to step into the #4 spot as a Superintendent in this sacred place, and to work with you, Reader, to leave it better than we find it.

I hope we’ll be talking, whether it’s in the Park or in an email. I’d love to hear your river story. You can email me at [email protected] or post a picture on Instagram and tag @rvaparksandrec, @jamesriverpark, and @jrpsrichmond.

Thanks for sharing, happy New Year to you, and be safe out there.


I’ve been reading The River Where America Began, by Bob Deans.  Most of the history above is drawn from that book, which a great read about the James River and its people over time.



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Change Coming to Positive Vibe Cafe

A new restaurant will be taking over Positive Vibe Cafe but still provide hands-on training for those with physical and development disabilities.



From Positive Vibe Cafe’s Facebook

Well as we kept struggling to find a safe time to open The Cafe this past year, a new option has appeared. We were contacted by a west end restaurant (to be named soon) in October that was unhappy where they were located and interested in partnering with us at our location. Our Board met and we have decided to accept their offer, as long as our Training Program would continue at the location. Of course, our nonprofit mission was always focused on providing training for young adults with disabilities and that will continue. We look forward to this partnership and wanted to let everyone know the good news. The name of the restaurant and more details to follow. Stay tuned….

The Positive Vibe Café (2825 Hathaway Road) has been providing hands-on training & meaningful employment in food services to individuals with physical and developmental disabilities for the past. Founded in 2002, since 2004, Positive Vibe Café has trained over 1500 students, all with scholarships.



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