RICHMOND, VA – (Friday, June 29, 2012) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to host the Los Angeles Blues next Tuesday, July 3, with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. at Richmond City Stadium. Fans are invited to attend a pre-game cookout at the official MARTIN’S Tailgate Party Spot at 5:00 p.m.
“The team has redoubled their efforts, making qualification for the playoffs the number one priority in their lives,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Head Coach and Director of Soccer. “We all recognize it will be a difficult task and will treat each league game as if it were the championship itself.”
“Everyone is encouraged with the intensity displayed in training this week and we look forward to finishing the season with a new and improved attitude starting with LA on Tuesday,” continued Cowlishaw.
The Kickers look to return to winning ways at City Stadium after dropping a last-gasp 3-2 decision to the Rochester Rhinos on June 23. Kickers midfielder Luke Vercollone gave his side the lead within the first 10 minutes but the Rhinos leveled the score before the break. Jason Yeisley broke the stalemate with his first goal in a Kickers uniform to regain the advantage in the 81st minute, sparking a flurry of controversy in the final minutes of regulation. Awarded a penalty kick in the 85th minute, the Rhinos drew even once more before a 90th minute red-card ejection to Kickers midfielder Stanley Nyazamba and a JC Banks stoppage time goal concluded the evening.
Meanwhile, the LA Blues arrive in Richmond next week on the tail end of a three-game road swing. Kicking off the road stand with a 3-2 loss in Charlotte, the Blues could not rally back from an early deficit, despite a pair of second half goals by forward Bright Dike. Next, the Blues stop off in Wilmington to take on the Hammerheads on Saturday, June 30 before heading north to Richmond. Earlier this month, the Blues handed the Dayton Dutch Lions consecutive 1-0 losses with Dike notching the lone goal in each match.
The Kickers and the Blues meet for the first and only time this season and for the fourth time in history next week, with Los Angeles narrowly holding the series advantage 1-0-2. Last season, the Blues edged the Kickers 2-1 at City Stadium before the two clubs battled to back-to-back scoreless ties in Los Angeles to conclude the 2011 campaign.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Forward Jason Yeisley (#17) returned to his comfort zone against the Rochester Rhinos after filling in at center back for the past six games. Posting six shots against the Rhinos, his persistence was rewarded as he notched his first goal in a Kickers uniform, earning a USL PRO Team of the Week honorable mention. Defender Ethan White (#24) will return on loan from D.C. United after making his third appearance with the Kickers in last week’s 3-2 loss to Rochester. Making an immediate impact in his first professional season with D.C. United, he made 24 appearances, logging nearly 2,000 minutes before being sidelined through injury in 2011. Henry Kalungi (#25) returned to the lineup after posting 270 minutes with the Uganda National Team. In addition to playing the full 90 minutes in each of the two World Cup qualifiers, the stalwart defender led the Uganda defense to a 4-0 shutout against Congo Brazaville to qualify for the next round of the 2013 Africa Cup qualifiers.
Blues: Nineteen-year old goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh (#1) has allowed just six goals in seven appearances and posted a pair of shutouts against Dayton earlier this month. In his second season with the blues, Abedzadeh is the son of former Iranian national team goalkeeper Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh. On loan from the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer, Bright Dike (#29) has notched an impressive six goals with the Blues during the 2012 season. The forward signed with the Timbers in 2010, notching 10 goals in 23 appearances that season before making 11 appearances with the MLS side in 2011. Scottish midfielder Ricky Waddell (#17) signed with the Blues prior to the 2012 season and has notched one goal and one assist so far this season. Waddell previously played with Scottish club Clyde, making 28 appearances with a total of four goals.
Kickers Cookout & Tailgate Party
Celebrate Independence Day early at the Kickers Cookout & Tailgate Party at City Stadium on Tuesday, July 3. Kickers Director of Sales, Hunter Leemon, will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers in the official MARTIN’S Tailgate Party Spot and the party will be in full swing starting at 5 p.m. Join fellow fanatics for food, corn hole and camaraderie before the Kickers take on the Los Angeles Blues at 7 p.m. Order specially priced tickets for just $10 each – includes cookout and game admission at RichmondKickers.com.