RICHMOND, VA – (Wednesday, June 19, 2013) – The Richmond Kickers conclude their eight-game home stand this Saturday, June 22 with a Major League Soccer match-up, hosting the Vancouver Whitecaps at City Stadium. Summer Fest, presented by Relay Foods, will begin at 5:00 p.m. featuring a one-of-a-kind Splash Zone, inflatable games, live music by From the Edge and the Kickers new outdoor bar, with the pro game kicking off at 7:00 p.m. Get four tickets for $20 before 6pm or order regularly priced tickets ($12/adults, $7/youth) in advance at RichmondKickers.com.
As a component of the groundbreaking affiliation between USL PRO and MLS, the inter-league home and away series between the Kickers and the Whitecaps will count in both the official USL PRO and MLS Reserve League standings. The Kickers and the Whitecaps conclude this year’s two-game series in Vancouver on Tuesday, July 23.
Undefeated through their first 11 regular season games, the Kickers extended their unbeaten streak at City Stadium last Friday through a 4-0 win over Antigua Barracuda FC. Midfielder Brian Ownby notched a pair of second half goals and Nate Robinson contributed a goal and an assist before rookie midfielder Joseph Haboush rounded out the scoreline as the Kickers posted their fifth shutout of the season.
Meanwhile, the Whitecaps Reserves are 2-0-2 on the season, most recently battling Chivas USA Reserves to a 3-3 draw. Vancouver midfielder Kekuta Mennah and forward Tommy Heinemann gave their side a 3-0 first half lead before Chivas rallied with three unanswered second half goals to level the score.
Rivals when the two clubs played in the USL First Division, the Kickers and the Whitecaps meet for the first time since 2005. Conceding a 0-2 loss and 1-1 tie against Vancouver during the 2005 regular season, the Kickers went on to battle the Whitecaps to a pair of scoreless draws in the postseason, ousting their west coast opponent 5-4 on penalties to advance to the USL First Division Semifinals.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Midfielder Philippe Davies (#20) made 29 appearances with the Vancouver Whitecaps (USL-1/USSF D2) over two seasons, before signing as the first-ever homegrown and Canadian player with the Major League Soccer side in 2010. The Canadian International recorded his first-ever goal in a Kickers uniform with a 25-yard blast against Wilmington earlier this month. Midfielder Brian Ownby (#12) earned USL PRO Team of the Week honors for the second time this season after leading the Kickers with a pair of goals in their 4-0 win over Antigua last week. Splitting time between the Richmond Kickers and Houston Dynamo, the former Richmond Strikers midfielder is third on the team in scoring with three goals and four assists in eight appearances. Defender Henry Kalungi (#25) returns from Uganda National Team duty following a pair of World Cup Qualifiers against Liberia and Angola. The experienced defender shores up the Kickers defensive unit that has allowed just eight goals through their first 11 regular season games.
Whitecaps: Forward Corey Hertzog (#26) signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps prior to the 2013 season after spending two seasons with the New York Red Bulls and a loan stint with the Wilmington Hammerheads. Making four appearances and notching one goal with the senior Whitecaps this season, he led the Hammerheads in 2012 with nine goals and five assists for 23 points in 17 games, en route to a USL PRO Championship appearance. Former Charleston Battery forward Tommy Heinemann (#29) led the USL PRO side to the 2010 Championship, posting seven goals and five assists for 19 points. He spent two seasons with the Columbus Crew before signing with the Whitecaps in 2013 and has since made five appearances with the senior team, most recently notching a pair of goals in the Reserves’ 3-3 draw with Chivas USA earlier this month. Defender Greg Klazura (#24) has been a positive presence for the Whitecaps Reserves, playing every minute during the 2012 season. This season he has been pulling double duty, making the 18-man roster for every senior game, while starting reserve matches. Now in his sophomore season with the Whitecaps, the former Notre Dame standout was selected in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft.
MLS Reserve League
The MLS Reserve League provides meaningful competition for young players on clubs’ first-team rosters and for advanced members of the youth development system. Each of the 19 MLS clubs will field either a Reserve Team or establish an affiliation with a USL PRO club. MLS Reserve Teams of clubs not competing in CONCACAF Champions League will play a 14-game regular season in 2013. After fielding reserve sides from 2005 through 2008, Major League Soccer re-launched its Reserve League in 2011, providing essential development opportunities to players. Since 2011, the MLS Reserve League has been split into East, Central, and West divisions.