Opponent: Charleston Battery (5-2-5)
Date/Time: Saturday, June 9nd – 7 PM
Tailgate & Red Army Forecast: This is one of the few “rivalry” games for the Kickers. This combined with a pretty darn good-looking forecast spells a good time. (3 Grill out of 5). The Red Army has not brought the numbers they were bringing last year. Those that do show up are certainly bringing the noise. This game is different. It’s a healthy rivalry with fans friendships/teasing going back decades. One of the biggest games of the year. (4 Smoke Bombs out of 5)
THREE THINGS TO KICK ABOUT
- Fresh legs – In a move that shocked many of Kicker faithful Coach Leigh Cowlishaw sat many of his starters during the Open Cup game on Tuesday. The result was not good, perhaps that move will payoff with a win on Saturday.
- Rivalry – Charleston and Richmond have been playing each other for 25 years. There is usually a small group of fans that travel to the games and many have become good friends. It really defines what a rivalry should be, passion and intensity for 90 minutes and friendship and laughter before and after.
- Defense, we got none – The Kickers played on Tuesday against MLS side Philadelphia Union. They were destroyed 5-0. Several goals came from basic defensive mistakes, like defending on corner kicks and crosses. Until something improves a win will remain out of reach.
At first glance of the table it would seem that this is an easy win for Charleston. The Battery sit in 5th place while Richmond is staring into the basement, wondering where it’ll set-up the couch. Just like last week though the table doesn’t tell the whole tale. The Battery have two games in hand and only 2 more wins. Richmond’s inability to hold on for a draw has really hurt them this year. The other scary statistic to look at is the Kickers’ ten goals and -7 goal differential compared to seventeen goals by the Battery and +4 goal differential.
I’m not seeing the Kickers pulling this one off.
Battery 2 – Kickers 1
My Home Games W/L prediction record to date: 64% correct
KICKERS OFFICIAL PREVIEW
The Richmond Kickers (3-6-1) conclude a four-game homestand by welcoming long-time rivals, the Charleston Battery (5-2-5), to City Stadium Saturday night. Saturday’s game marks Kickers Fiesta at City Stadium. The party starts at 5:30 p.m. with live Salsa music, all-you-can-eat Chicken Fiesta Taco Bar and Modelo on tap for just $22 ($16 for Season Ticket Holders). Then, cheer on the Kickers with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
Richmond and Charleston started meeting back in 1993, and it is the longest-standing continual rivalry in the United States. It has been an evenly-matched rivalry over the years with the Battery holding a 28-25-9 all-time advantage. In 2017, the Kickers went 1-2 against the Battery, picking up three points at City Stadium but falling twice at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston. In the 3-1 win last year, the Kickers were powered by goals from Sunny Jane, Oliver Minatel, and Yudai Imura.
The Kickers are coming off a 5-0 defeat that ended their run in the U.S. Open Cup on the road at the Philadelphia Union, an MLS squad. The Union scored early and often, quickly ending any Richmond hopes of an upset. Last Saturday, the Kickers fell at home to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 2-1 in USL action. Luiz Fernando came on as a substitute and scored the opening goal in the 54th minute. However, two late goals from Neco Brett and Romeo Parkes allowed the Riverhounds to play spoiler on the road. The Kickers have now lost two straight USL games at home, a streak they’ll be looking to end on Saturday.
Charleston also had its U.S. Open Cup chances dashed on the road against the Atlanta United FC. Atlanta advanced to the Round of 16 with the 3-0 win from Fifth Third Bank Stadium. In the Battery’s last USL match, they played the Indy Eleven to a 3-3 draw from Lucas Oil Stadium. Tied 2-2, Indy seemingly picked up three points when Ayoze Garcia scored a set piece goal in the 93rd minute. However, Charleston quickly responded when Tah Brian Anunga’s strike found the back of the net just a minute later to extend the Battery’s unbeaten streak to nine league games.
Following Saturday’s match, the Kickers will have a quick turnaround and head to FNB Field to face Penn FC on Tuesday, June 12. Then, Richmond will be on the road again to play the USL Eastern Conference leaders, FC Cincinnati from Nippert Stadium on Saturday, June 16. Both matches will be available to stream on ESPN+, with the FC Cincinnati match being available on the Kickers official television partners, WTVR CBS 6 via their 6.3 subchannel (Comcast 206, Verizon FiOS 466).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Richmond: Forward Heviel Cordovés (#16) has been Leigh Cowlishaw’s choice for attacking purposes recently. Cordovés has two total goals this year, and he will be facing his former club on Saturday night. Midfielder Raul Gonzalez (#27) leads the Kickers with 11 shots and five shots on goal. Gonzalez has tallied 670 minutes thus far in his second season with the Kickers. Defender Conor Shanosky (#5) has started all 10 USL games and amassed 825 minutes. Shanosky came on as a substitute in the 89th minute of the Kickers 5-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday, so he should be completely rested for a strong performance on the back line.
Charleston: Midfielder Ataulla Guerra (#10) is second in the entire USL with seven goals this season. Guerra leads Charleston with 23 shots in 12 appearances. Forward Gordon Wild (#15) has collected three goals on the year and distributed two assists which are tied for the team lead. Wild is on loan from Atlanta United and in his first year of professional soccer after finishing his career with the University of Maryland in 2017. Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky (#1) has started seven games for the Battery and recorded four clean sheets in that time. Kuzminsky is in his second year with Charleston.
At least the part that includes the Kickers. There are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference.
It’s Kickers Fiesta at City Stadium on Saturday, June 9th! 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):
- Exclusive access to the VIP Fiesta
- All-you-can-eat taco bar, featuring the authentic Tex-Mex flavors of Chicken Fiesta
- Two Modelo beers*, or sodas
- Admission to the Richmond Kickers vs Charleston Battery game at 7:00 pm