RICHMOND, VA – (Wednesday, June 22, 2016) – The Richmond Kickers (5-5-4) return to City Stadium this Saturday, June 25 to host Bethlehem Steel FC (4-4-5) and Summer Fest. The party starts at 5:30 p.m. with live music by 2-11, a one-of-a-kind splash zone featuring a 40-foot slip ‘n slide and a 20-foot water slide, human foosball, RVA food trucks and craft beer on tap before the Kickers battle Bethlehem at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
The Kickers look to return to winning ways this Saturday after their road woes continued with a 1-0 loss in Charlotte last week. Conceding a first half goal, the Kickers could not recover from the early deficit, falling for the second time in as many games at Ramblewood Soccer Complex this season. One week earlier, the Kickers rebounded from a two game slide with a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at City Stadium. After a pair of first half own goals handed the Kickers the lead, forward Anthony Grant solidified the much-needed three points when he nodded home his first professional goal.
Meanwhile, Bethlehem dropped points on the road in Wilmington last time out. Forward Seku Conneh gave the visitors a first half lead before they allowed the equalizer just after the break.
Saturday’s game marks the second time the Kickers meet the USL’s 27th expansion team, concluding the two-game home and away series at City Stadium. The two clubs met for the first time in April when Bethlehem snapped the Kickers early season unbeaten streak. Bethlehem midfielders Eric Ayuk and Derrick Jones struck on either side of the half before Yudai Imura pulled a goal back just before the hour mark to avoid the shutout.
Kickers: Player/Assistant Coach Michael Callahan (#5) returned to the starting lineup for the Kickers 3-1 win over Pittsburgh on June 11 after being sidelined through injury for nearly a month. Named team captain prior to the 2015 season, he has amassed 7,000 minutes over five seasons, contributing to 55 shutouts while adding four goals and five assists. Sophomore defender Braeden Troyer (#31) has anchored the Kickers backline in all 14 games this season, playing every minute of every game. Signing with the Kickers days before the start of the 2015 season, he was discovered at the 2015 Pro Combine, earning his first contract out of the University of South Carolina. Forward Anthony Grant (#9) broke into the starting lineup earlier this month after contributing his first assist in a Kickers uniform against FC Montreal and adding a second assist against Fort Lauderdale four days later. The trend continued for the 2015 PDL Most Valuable Player when he tallied his first professional goal in the Kickers 3-1 win over Pittsburgh at City Stadium.
Steel: Eric Ayuk (#14) led the offense in the Steel’s 2-1 win over the Kickers in April, contributing a goal and an assist. On loan from the club’s official MLS affiliate, Philadelphia Union, the Cameroonian midfielder has made seven appearances with the USL side this season. Forward Seku Conneh (#36) returned to the starting lineup after representing Liberia in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier earlier this month and posted his first goal in a Steel jersey in the club’s 1-1 draw in Wilmington last week. Signing with the Steel prior to the 2016 season, the experienced 20-year old spent time in the Dutch Second Division as well as the Ajax youth system. Joining Bethlehem on loan from the Philadelphia Union, Cole Missimo (#19) has anchored the midfield in 10 matches this season, including the club’s last two road games in Charlotte and Wilmington. Selected by the Union in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, the Northwestern University product contributed his first professional assist in the Steel’s 2-1 win over Richmond in April.