Opponent: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (4-1-6)
Date/Time: Saturday, June 2nd – 7 PM
Weather Forecast: Hight of 82°, Thunderstorms likely potential for heavy rainfall. Chance of rain 90%
Tailgate & Red Army Forecast: If the weather is as predicted this could be miserable. (1 Grill out of 5). The Red Army was lacking last Saturday and I see that trend continuing. Those that showup will bring the passion but there are fair weather fans even among the most faithful. (1 Smoke Bomb out of 5)
THREE THINGS TO KICK ABOUT
- Wear & tear – This will be the 3rd game in 10 days and they have another one (Open Cup) on Tuesday. The Kickers don’t have the depth for this many games and it shows.
- Bad luck – The man in the middle blew two important calls last week. One cost the Kickers a goal and the other allowed a Charlotte goal to stand that was offside. As a fan, it especially hurts to see the referee blow a call. As a supposedly unbiased reporter, you have to say it all evens out.
- Defense, we got none – Last week we mentioned that the Kickers needed to quit giving up a goal after taking the lead. We need to amend that to say perhaps not giving up three goals at home would be a good idea as well.
The team was a disjointed mess for most of last week’s game. The Riverdogs sit in 4th place in the Eastern Conference and the Kickers languish in 14th. That difference is deceptive though as the Riverhounds have played 2 additional games. If you take away those two games the teams are fairly evenly matched Stats wise. I think the Kickers will come out strong and take a win.
Kickers 1 – Pittsburgh 0
My Home Games W/L prediction record to date: 71% correct
KICKERS OFFICIAL PREVIEW
The Richmond Kickers (3-5-1) host Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (4-1-6) on Saturday for the third of four straight USL home games. It will be the Food Truck Fest from City Stadium starting at 5:30 p.m. as RVA’s iconic food trucks will headline the event with local favorites including Carytown Burgers & Fries, Sticks Kebob Shop, Freekin’ Rican, Backyard Grill, Intergalactic Tacos, Opa, Goatacado and Gelati Celesti, serving legendary tacos, made-to-order burgers, island flavors, authentic Greek fare, and heavenly hand-made ice cream. Then, the Kickers take the field to face the Riverhounds at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com and the game will be streamed through ESPN+.
Richmond and Pittsburgh have a long history dating back to 1999. The Kickers hold an overall record of 19-8-10 against the Riverhounds. In 2017, Richmond won the home game 2-1 and picked up a 1-1 draw on the road. In the win, the Kickers attack was bolstered by goals from Fred Owusu Sekyere and D.C. United loanee Alhaji Kamara. 2017’s home win increased the Kickers record to 13-3-3 versus the Riverhounds from City Stadium.
The Kickers hope to bounce back after a 3-1 loss to the Charlotte Independence last Saturday. Charlotte scored the first three goals of the game beginning with Yann Ekra’s goal in the 14th minute. The momentum of the game seemingly changed for Richmond in the 26th minute when a Heviel Cordovés goal was disallowed after a contentious hand-ball call in the box. Cordell Cato tallied the next two goals, first right before the end of the half in the 45th minute and then off a counterattack in the 76th minute. Brian Shriver found the back of the net late in the 80th minute to put Richmond on the board. The Kickers have to find a way to earn points quick after dropping to 14th in the USL standings with the loss.
“Last weekend’s game was a tough one because I don’t think the score truly reflected the game,” Shriver said. “They were the best team overall, but I think for us to come out on Saturday and put in a good performance is key going forward. We need three points this weekend.”
Pittsburgh, currently fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, is coming off its first loss of the season at home to Nashville SC, 1-0 on Wednesday. Nashville broke through in the defensive affair when Brandon Allen collected a loose ball in the box off a corner kick and booted it home in the 69th minute. The Riverhounds first loss was also the first time it conceded a goal at home after six straight shutouts to start league play. Pittsburgh will pack up the bags and travel to City Stadium after a run of three straight on the road.
Following Saturday’s match, the Kickers will conclude its homestand by welcoming longtime rivals, the Charleston Battery to Richmond. Saturday, June 9 marks Kickers Fiesta at City Stadium. The party starts at 5:30 pm with live Salsa music, all-you-can-eat Chicken Fiesta Taco Bar and Modelo on tap for just $22 ($16 for Season Ticket Holders). Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Richmond: Forward Brian Shriver (#21) tacked on his team-leading third goal against Charlotte. Shriver also led the Kickers with two shots in Saturday’s match. The 5-foot-10-inch forward is in his first year with the Kickers. Midfielder Brandon Eaton (#25) collected his first start with the Kickers last Saturday. Eaton passed for a team-high 90 percent clip in the first half before he was subbed off. The Chesapeake native is in his second year with the Kickers after playing his college ball at Virginia Commonwealth University. Midfielder Oscar Umar (#17) leads Richmond with 362 passes over his seven starts. Umar will be the key distributor looking to get things going against a tough Pittsburgh defense.
Pittsburgh: Forward Neco Brett (#9) leads the Pittsburgh attack with five goals in 11 appearances. The Jamaican native is in his first year with the Riverhounds after spending last year with the Portland Timbers 2. Midfielder Thomas Vancaeyezeele (#25) is the only player to start all 11 games for Pittsburgh, amassing a team-leading 990 minutes. Vancaeyezeele enters his first season in the USL after playing finishing his career at the University of Charleston (WV). Goalkeeper Daniel Lynd (#33) has conceded just six goals in eight starts. Lynd has contributed four clean sheets for the Riverhounds.
At least the part that includes the Kickers. There are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference.
No real deals to be had to this game but it is Food Truck Night.
RVA’s iconic food trucks will headline the event with local favorites including Carytown Burgers & Fries, Sticks Kebob Shop, Freekin’ Rican, Backyard Grill, Intergalactic Tacos, Opa, Goatacado and Gelati Celesti, serving legendary tacos, made-to-order burgers, island flavors, authentic Greek fare, and heavenly hand-made ice cream.