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KICKERS RENEW RIVALRY, TRAVEL TO FACE CHARLESTON BATTERY

By Cory Van Dyke, 07/27/18, 9:00AM EDT

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Watch Live from MUSC Health Stadium at 7PM on ESPN+

RICHMOND, Va. – (Friday, July 27, 2018) – The Richmond Kickers (5-10-3) will head south to face long-time rivals, the Charleston Battery, from MUSC Health Stadium on Saturday for the 64th meeting between the two sides. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be streamed on ESPN+. Join the Red Army for the Kickers Official Watch Party at Metro Bar and Grill, located at 301 N Robinson St, Richmond, VA 23220 in the Fan. 

“It will take a similar performance to what we had last night [against Espanyol] certainly,” head coach David Bulow said. “Charleston is organized. They’re disciplined. We have to stay focused and make life uncomfortable for them. I think we showed that we can play against anybody. We have belief in what we’re doing here and we can cause some problems for them.”

Charleston holds the slight 28-26-9 advantage in the competitive series between the two foes who have been battling each other since 1993. In the previous match this season, the Kickers defeated the Battery 2-0 on June 9 from City Stadium. Richmond forward Heviel Cordovés scored the opening goal in the 62nd minute against his former squad. Off a set piece, Brian Shriver’s darting cross made a perfect connection with Cordovés’ head, finding the back of the net. Richmond doubled its lead late in the 90th minute when Luiz Fernando sealed the victory with a goal off a counterattack.

Richmond is coming off an exciting exhibition against RCD Espanyol on Wednesday in front of 7,356 fans at City Stadium. The Kickers took the early lead, shocking Espanyol when Scott Thomsen delivered a beautiful ball off the corner kick and found Conor Shanosky for the header. Espanyol’s Borja Iglesias leveled the contest, but the Kickers again struck back when Braeden Troyer snuck a shot into the bottom left corner of the net to give Richmond the 2-1 advantage heading into the half. The Kickers led all the way into the 82nd minute before Espanyol notched three goals in the last 10 minutes to leave the pitch with a 4-2 victory. 

“We’re back to league play, so this is where our focus needs to be,” Thomsen said. “The Espanyol game was a great experience. Everyone got a good 45 [minutes] in. It wasn’t too heavy on the legs, so now we’re just getting ready for a big test.”

The Battery have not lost since the Kickers beat them on June 9. Charleston is on a current three game winning streak and seven game unbeaten streak, picking up four wins and three draws during the stretch. Last Saturday, the Battery secured an impressive three points on the road at Pittsburgh to move up to second in the Eastern Conference standings. Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky was spectacular, collecting four saves including one off a penalty. The match appeared destined for a draw until Ataulla Guerra scored the decisive goal off a header in the 88th minute. Charleston held on for the last few minutes, stunning the Pittsburgh crowd.

Following Saturday’s match, the Kickers have a quick turnaround, traveling to face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Wednesday, August 1. Richmond returns home on Saturday, August 4 to host Bethlehem Steel FC. Tickets are available for the match against Bethlehem on RichmondKickers.com. Both games will also be available on the Kickers Official Television Partners, WTVR CBS 6 on their 6.3 sub channel (Comcast 206, Verizon FiOS 466) and can be streamed live on ESPN+

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Richmond: Defender Scott Thomsen (#10) has been a force at left back, especially in making runs down the wing on the counter. Thomsen has shown a propensity to be able to flick a ball into the box and pick out a Kickers player like he did when he assisted on Conor Shanosky’s header in the Espanyol match. Midfielder Greg Boehme (#28) started his first match of the season last time out in USL play against Atlanta United 2. Boehme put pressure on Atlanta all night, winning a foul from just outside the box that led to Brian Shriver’s free kick strike. Defender Conor Shanosky (#5) put the Kickers on top against Espanyol when he nodded the ball into the net off the corner. Shanosky has been a consistent piece of the Kickers backline, starting in 16 games.

Charleston: Forward Atualla Guerra (#10) leads the entire USL with 11 goals scored in 2018. The Trinidadian international has burst onto the scene this year, only garnering 7 goals in his first two seasons with the Battery. Midfielder Neveal Hackshaw (#8) was named to the USL Team of the Week for week 18. Hackshaw’s first goal of his career was a game-winner to defeat defending USL Champions Louisville City FC on July 14. Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky (#1) has tallied 31 saves in 14 appearances this year. He’s sixth in the USL with seven clean sheets in 2018.