Photo © Jessica Stone Hendricks Photography
RICHMOND, VA — (Friday, June 8, 2018) — The Richmond Kickers (3-6-1) conclude a four-game homestand by welcoming long-time rivals, the Charleston Battery (5-2-5), to City Stadium Saturday night. Saturday’s game marks Kickers Fiesta at City Stadium. The party starts at 5:30 p.m. with live Salsa music, all-you-can-eat Chicken Fiesta Taco Bar and Modelo on tap for just $22 ($16 for Season Ticket Holders). Then, cheer on the Kickers with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
Richmond and Charleston started meeting back in 1993, and it is the longest-standing continual rivalry in the United States. It has been an evenly-matched rivalry over the years with the Battery holding a 28-25-9 all-time advantage. In 2017, the Kickers went 1-2 against the Battery, picking up three points at City Stadium but falling twice at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston. In the 3-1 win last year, the Kickers were powered by goals from Sunny Jane, Oliver Minatel, and Yudai Imura.
The Kickers are coming off a 5-0 defeat that ended their run in the U.S. Open Cup on the road at the Philadelphia Union, an MLS squad. The Union scored early and often, quickly ending any Richmond hopes of an upset. Last Saturday, the Kickers fell at home to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 2-1 in USL action. Luiz Fernando came on as a substitute and scored the opening goal in the 54th minute. However, two late goals from Neco Brett and Romeo Parkes allowed the Riverhounds to play spoiler on the road. The Kickers have now lost two straight USL games at home, a streak they’ll be looking to end on Saturday.
Charleston also had its U.S. Open Cup chances dashed on the road against the Atlanta United FC. Atlanta advanced to the Round of 16 with the 3-0 win from Fifth Third Bank Stadium. In the Battery’s last USL match, they played the Indy Eleven to a 3-3 draw from Lucas Oil Stadium. Tied 2-2, Indy seemingly picked up three points when Ayoze Garcia scored a set piece goal in the 93rd minute. However, Charleston quickly responded when Tah Brian Anunga’s strike found the back of the net just a minute later to extend the Battery’s unbeaten streak to nine league games.
Following Saturday’s match, the Kickers will have a quick turnaround and head to FNB Field to face Penn FC on Tuesday, June 12. Then, Richmond will be on the road again to play the USL Eastern Conference leaders, FC Cincinnati from Nippert Stadium on Saturday, June 16. Both matches will be available to stream on ESPN+, with the FC Cincinnati match being available on the Kickers official television partners, WTVR CBS 6 via their 6.3 subchannel (Comcast 206, Verizon FiOS 466).
Richmond: Forward Heviel Cordovés (#16) has been Leigh Cowlishaw’s choice for attacking purposes recently. Cordovés has two total goals this year, and he will be facing his former club on Saturday night. Midfielder Raul Gonzalez (#27) leads the Kickers with 11 shots and five shots on goal. Gonzalez has tallied 670 minutes thus far in his second season with the Kickers. Defender Conor Shanosky (#5) has started all 10 USL games and amassed 825 minutes. Shanosky came on as a substitute in the 89th minute of the Kickers 5-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday, so he should be completely rested for a strong performance on the back line.
Charleston: Midfielder Ataulla Guerra (#10) is second in the entire USL with seven goals this season. Guerra leads Charleston with 23 shots in 12 appearances. Forward Gordon Wild (#15) has collected three goals on the year and distributed two assists which are tied for the team lead. Wild is on loan from Atlanta United and in his first year of professional soccer after finishing his career with the University of Maryland in 2017. Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky (#1) has started seven games for the Battery and recorded four clean sheets in that time. Kuzminsky is in his second year with Charleston.