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Preview: Kickers vs. Bethlehem Steel FC

The Kickers are effectively playing for pride at this point in the season.

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MATCH DETAILS

Opponent: Bethlehem Steel FC (7-9-6)
Date/Time:
 Saturday, Aug. 4th – 7 PM
Weather Forecast from Weather.com:

THREE THINGS TO KICK ABOUT

  1. Playoff Odds – Not good, in fact, terrible. According to the ugly but awesome site Sports Club Stats the Kickers currently have a 0.05% chance of making the playoffs. That’s not a typo for 5% our chances are .05%. The highpoint of our chance for making the playoffs was the first game of the year at 50% since then the highest was in May when it hung out in the upper 30%.
  2. Juice – This is the nickname of Giuseppe Gentile one of the new forwards the Kickers picked up this year. He has spent most of the season on the bench due to injuries and just recently has been getting the start. He’s exciting to watch and while he hasn’t found the back of the net yet it should happen soon.
  3. Defense – The Kickers have none. In the past six league games, they’ve given up 17 goals. The most recent games were back to back 3-0 defeats which means an impressive goal differential of -21. There are only two teams in the Eastern Division with worse goal differential Atlanta with -23 (we tied 1-1 in July) and Toronto FC with -26 (we beat 2-1 back in April).

PREDICTION

I think you all know where this is heading. The Kickers are in a complete tailspin and due to scheduling from hell are no playing their 7th game in four weeks. The phrase kicking a dog when they’re down, comes to mind. The Kickers have only managed three draws out of 20 games and a disheartening 12 losses. This Saturday they’ll pick up lucky 13 in the L column.

Bethlehem 2 – Kickers 0

My Home Games W/L prediction record to date: 45% correct

KICKERS OFFICIAL PREVIEW

The Richmond Kickers (5-12-3) return to City Stadium to battle the Bethlehem Steel FC (7-9-6) for the final time of the 2018 regular season on Saturday at 7 p.m. The party starts at 5:30pm for artVA Fest with live music by The Hit List, a collaborative art zone including lessons, performances and installations by Art on Wheels, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Studio Two Three and Wine & Design, plus RVA food trucks and over a dozen craft beers on tap. The match will be available on the Kickers Official Television Partners, WTVR CBS 6 on their 6.3 sub channel (Comcast 206, Verizon FiOS 466) and can be streamed live on ESPN+. Tickets are available now at RichmondKickers.com.

Saturday’s match will be the seventh all-time meeting between the two sides. Bethlehem holds the 3-1-2 advantage including two wins from Goodman Stadium this season. In the opening game of the regular season, Steel FC defeated the Kickers 4-1 behind a brace from Brandon Allen. Oscar Umar scored his first goal with the Kickers in the match. In the most recent meeting on May 6, Bethlehem again earned three points from home, beating the Richmond 3-1. Heviel Cordovés notched his first goal with the Kickers just minutes after he replaced an injured Giuseppe Gentile. However, Steel FC rallied with three straight goals to pick up the win.

Richmond is coming off two tough results on the road. Last Saturday the Kickers lost 3-0 to long-time rivals, the Charleston Battery. Despite the loss, the Kickers outshot the Battery 21-6 and controlled 60 percent of possession. Things didn’t get much better in the mid-week tilt against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Wednesday. The Riverhounds won 3-0 from Highmark Stadium, powered by two goals from Neco Brett. Trevor Spangenberg prevented further damage with six saves in the match.

Bethlehem gained three points last Sunday with a 4-1 result at home versus Atlanta United 2. Matt Mahoney got the scoring started with a header off a corner kick in the 16th minute. Aidan Apodaca, Faris and Brenden Aaronson all tallied their first professional goals in the victory. The four goals in the match tied a Steel FC record. Bethlehem sits in 10th place in the USL standings, but just a point outside of the eighth position.

Following Saturday’s match, the Kickers will gear up for two consecutive games on the road. Richmond will make the trip to our neighbors up north and face Toronto FC II on Sunday, August 12. Then, the Kickers will stay in Canada and battle the Ottawa Fury FC on Wednesday, August 15. Both games can be streamed on ESPN+.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Richmond: Forward Heviel Cordovés (#16) returned to action on Wednesday for the first time since going down with an injury on July 9. Cordovés has scored four goals in his first season with the Kickers. Midfielder Brandon Eaton (#25) entered as a substitute on Wednesday and passed at a 90.1 percent clip. Eaton is hoping to have even more of an impact on Saturday having only played in three games so far this season. Defender Mekeil Williams (#55) has appeared in 17 games from the center back position for the Kickers. Williams and his 59 clearances will be critical in stopping the Bethlehem attack.

Bethlehem: Defender Matthew Mahoney (#48) is the backbone of Bethlehem’s defense, playing in 1,759 minutes, the most on the team. Mahoney is also a threat off set pieces, adding two goals in 2018. Forward Santi Moar (#38) has appeared in 21 games for Bethlehem and leads the team with six assists. Moar has collected three goals so far, including one last time out against Richmond. Midfielder Adam Najem (#24) is a key playmaker for Steel FC, leading the team with 33 chances created. Najem is in his second season with Bethlehem, appearing in 14 games this year.

TABLE

TICKET DEAL

It’s artVA at City Stadium on Saturday, August 4!  The party starts at 5:30pm with live music by The Hit List, a collaborative art zone including lessons, performances and installations by Art on Wheels, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Studio Two Three and Wine & Design – PLUS – RVA food trucks and over a dozen craft beers on tap!

Then, get loud with the Red Army when your Richmond Kickers battle Bethlehem Steel FC at 7pm.

GET TICKETS

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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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Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Westover Hills
Common Name:  Common Starling or European Starling
Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 7.5–9.1 in
Weight: 2.0–3.6 oz
Wingspan: 12–17 in

Quick Facts Courtesy of All About Birds

  • All the European Starlings in North America descended from 100 birds set loose in New York’s Central Park in the early 1890s. The birds were intentionally released by a group who wanted America to have all the birds that Shakespeare ever mentioned. There are now over 200 million European Starlings and they range from Alaska to Mexico.
  • Because of their recent arrival in North America, all of our starlings are closely related. Genetically, individuals from Virginia are nearly indistinguishable from starlings sampled in California, 3,000 miles away. Such little genetic variation often spells trouble for rare species, but seems to offer no ill effects to starlings so far.
  • Starlings are strong fliers that can get up to speeds of 48 mph.
  • In studies of starlings’ sense of taste, scientists have discovered that they can taste salt, sugars, citric acid, and tannins (bitter compounds that occur in many fruits, including acorns and grapes). They can tell the difference between sucrose (table sugar) and other kinds of sugars – helpful since starlings lack the ability to digest sucrose.
  • Starlings are great vocal mimics: individuals can learn the calls of up to 20 different species. Birds whose songs starlings often copy include the Eastern Wood-Pewee, Killdeer, meadowlarks, Northern Bobwhite, Wood Thrush, Red-tailed Hawk, American Robin, Northern Flicker, and many others.

 

Benjamin at Richmond SPCA

Behold! The bold and beautiful…erm…handsome Benjamin! Have you been yearning for a pal who will cuddle up with you at night? Is your heart aching for some TLC that can only be cured by toe pads and whiskers? Well then we have the best little buddy for you! If you’re interested in finally taking home your new best friend, come ask to meet with Benjamin today!

Age: 8 years, 3 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Black
Declawed: No
ID: 43463251

Adopt Benjamin at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

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Suspects Sought in Commercial Burglary on Forest Hill Avenue

At approximately 12:10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 31, officers responded to the S&K Mini Mart in the 3400 block of Forest Hill Avenue for a burglary alarm that had just gone off. Once on scene, police found the front glass window smashed in.

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From RPD:

At approximately 12:10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 31, officers responded to the S&K Mini Mart in the 3400 block of Forest Hill Avenue for a burglary alarm that had just gone off. Once on scene, police found the front glass window smashed in.

Security video shows the two adult male suspects using a lead pipe to break the window and get inside the business. They went directly behind the counter and stole cigarettes and money. The suspects left the same way they came in.

Anyone with information about the identity of these suspects is asked to call Second Precinct Detective J. Thondique at (804) 646-8170 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Artist Keith Ramsey Uses his Welder to Help Healthcare Workers

People are pitching in to help fight COVID-19. Local artist Keith Ramsey was able to pivot his skills in an amazing way.

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Keith Ramsey is a multi-talented artist. In addition to fine art painting he also has a more industrial tact with some of his work that uses metal and a welder. It’s because of this background and his generous nature that the following story is not surprising in the least.

In Keith’s own words:

Last Monday someone contacted me with an issue. They needed a welder to help put together @12+ racks for a medical facility to help sterilize much needed medical supplies to help with the influx of COVID19 patients to come.

I had projects already in the workshop, but before he could get halfway into asking if I could help, It was already a hard “YES.”

After about a week of straight 9-hour days and more welding in a short amount of time I have ever done, we got the racks out the door!

The thing about that is, I was proud to be able to do something… anything, I could do to help in this crisis our nation, and the world, is facing. It was a small part by comparison to what others are doing and sacrificing, but it was what I personally could do with the resources I had.

I believe THAT’S how we are going to beat COVID19 back. Everyone doing what they can, when they can to help out. Because, as we all know, this thing doesn’t care about who you are, who you vote for, where you’re from and what you look like.

And we need to be the same way to combat this.
That’s my two cents. #metalsupermarkets #ramseyartworks

You can check Keith’s work at Ramsey Art Works.

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