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THREE THINGS TO KICK ABOUT
- Joe Cool – Joe Gallardo scored his second goal of the season and won the game for the Kickers in Greenville last Saturday. The goal was impressive enough to grab USL League 1 Goal of the Week honors. You should really watch it.
- Clean Sheets – Despite a few scares the Kickers earned their second clean sheet of the year holding back a potent Greenville offense. The backline has been evolving due to both injuries and perhaps performance. Last week it was Lockaby, Ackwei, Shanosky, and Thomsen in the back. Not sure if that’s going to be the same this game but one thing is certain Akira Fitzgerald is the starting goalkeeper.
- Points at Home – The Kickers failed to take advantage of starting off the season with two home games. They only managed one point out of six. They now play three league games and an Open Cup game at home. Nine points are obviously the goal but anything less than six and an Open Cup win will be a bit of a failure.
The Kickers look like their offense is really coming together. The amount of fight they showed in Greenville speaks to the mentality of the team. I think they’ve turned a corner. They’ll be riding high and will want to give the home town crowd a win.
Kickers 3 – Greenville 1
Prediction rate to date: 50%
OFFICIAL KICKERS PREVIEW
The Richmond Kickers (1-2-1) return home to City Stadium for the start of a four-match homestand in all competitions, starting this Saturday night as Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (2-2-0) comes to town for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. It is Kickers K-9 Night presented by Impawsible Pups at City Stadium, with the first 150 dogs that come through the gates starting at 5:30 p.m. receiving a free dog bowl. Plus, Happy Hour drink specials from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with craft beers on tap and a selection of wines from New Kent Winery, live music from the Dirty Runaways and then the Kickers take the field to take on Chattanooga at 7:00 p.m. This match will be available live on ESPN+. Get tickets now at RichmondKickers.com.
Saturday’s match against Chattanooga will be the first-ever meeting between the two clubs, and the first of four matches this season.
Richmond come into this match on the heels of a 1-0 road victory at Greenville Triumph SC last Saturday night. Coming out of halftime scoreless, the Kickers took the lead just four minutes into the second half. Conor Shanosky played a long ball forward to Matt Bolduc inside the Greenville end of the pitch. He turned and quickly found Joe Gallardo just ahead of him in space. In a brilliant run, Gallardo was able to get around four Triumph SC defenders and slotted the ball in the near post for the only goal of the match and his second of the season to lift Richmond to their first win. Gallardo, Wahab Ackwei and Josh Hughes were recognized for their efforts in the match, being named to the USL League One Team of the Week for Week 4.
Chattanooga held on to take a 3-2 home win against South Georgia Tormenta FC last Saturday night at David Stanton Field. Steven Beattie put up a USL League One Player of the Week performance scoring two first half goals, with Éamon Zayed adding a goal in between. Red Wolves SC took a commanding 3-0 lead into halftime. Tormenta FC fought back in the second half with two goals from Conner Antley and Christopher Hellman. The Chattanooga defense was able to hold stout to keep Tormenta from getting a third goal and claimed the victory.
The Kickers are back at City Stadium next Saturday night for the third and final meeting with Lansing Ignite FC at 7:00 p.m. The party gets started at 5:30 p.m. for Star Wars Night, with happy hour drink specials for the first 30 minutes after the gates open with craft beer on tap and selections of wine, live music. The players will come out for warm ups in limited edition Star Wars pregame jerseys, which will be auctioned off to benefit Sportable. This match will be available to stream live on ESPN+. Tickets are available now at RichmondKickers.com.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Richmond: Forward Joe Gallardo (#10) scored his second goal of the season and the game winner Saturday night at Greenville. The San Diego native has made four appearances, all of which were starts for Richmond this season. Midfielder Josh Hughes (#7) returned to the Kickers starting lineup in Greenville after dealing with a slight injury. Hughes played an integral part of Richmond’s first three points of the season, winning 10 of 14 duels and completing 26 of 33 passes. Making his second appearance in the USL League One Team of the Week, defender Wahab Ackwei (#18) held strong with the Kickers backline to preserve the second clean sheet of the season. The Ghanian recorded a passing percentage of 80% and 8 clearances as the Kickers picked up their second clean sheet of the season.
Chattanooga: Named the USL League One Player of the Week, midfielder Steven Beattie (#10)leads Red Wolves SC in scoring this season with three goals. Beattie netted two goals in their last outing, a 3-2 win against Tormenta FC. Defender Vangjel Zguro (#6) has two assists this season for Chattanooga, including setting up the first goal for Beattie in their last match. The Albanian has played in four matches this season, starting in three of those matches. Defender Richard Dixon (#2) has one goal in four matches for Red Wolves SC. Dixon is a familiar foe for the Kickers after spending 2015-16 with Saint Louis FC before spending time at Oklahoma City Energy FC for the last two seasons.
This Saturday is Kickers K-9 Night presented by Impawsible Pups at City Stadium. The party starts at 5:30 p.m. when the gates open with free dog bowls for the first 150 dogs courtesy of Impawsible Pups, drink specials for the first 30 minutes with craft beer on tap, plus wine, several food vendors, bounce houses for kids, new “Target Practice” shooting area and live music from the Dirty Runaways. Then, join the Red Army when the Kickers battle Chattanooga for this first time this season at 7:00 p.m.
Runners in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K can get tickets for just $9 using promo code 10K19.
Tickets and hospitality options are available right now at RichmondKickers.com.