Jul 6, 2012

Kickers Face Hammerheads Saturday

High-Stakes Match Kicks Off at 7:30 p.m. on USLNation.com

Richmond Kickers Logo

RICHMOND, VA – (Friday, July 6, 2012) – The Richmond Kickers (5-5-5, 20 points) conclude a three-game series against the Wilmington Hammerheads (6-5-4, 22 points) this Saturday, July 7.  The match is slated to kick off at 7:30 p.m. live from Legion Stadium on USLNation.com

Last time out, the Richmond Kickers narrowly edged the Los Angeles Blues to leapfrog into fifth place on the USL PRO table.  Midfielder Ryan Heins notched his first goal of the season to lift the Kickers to a 1-0 victory while goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale posted his fourth shutout of the 2012 campaign.  Three days earlier, the Hammerheads downed the Blues, 4-2, to defend a perfect record at Legion Stadium.  Midfielder Bryce Taylor contributed a goal and two assists, with Andriy Budnyy and Corey Hertzog rounding out the high-scoring affair to preserve their fourth place spot in the standings.

“It was encouraging to gain three points on Tuesday but the players recognize it's only the first step toward our ultimate objective,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers and Director of Soccer.  “Wilmington is a difficult place to play and we are fortunate to finally have a close to full strength squad to select from. The players’ improved attitude has been a joy to see in training and we look forward to testing Wilmington's undefeated home record to the maximum.”

The Kickers and the Hammerheads last met at Legion Stadium three weeks ago when Wilmington edged the visitors 2-1, on a pair of first half goals.  The Kickers opened scoring when defender Sascha Görres fed a through ball to Christopher Agorsor, who made no mistake from 16 yards out, but quickly squandered the early lead when Budnyy leveled the score seven minutes later.  Wilmington claimed the advantage that they held throughout the match when Hertzog converted a penalty at the half hour mark.

Previously, the two clubs faced off at Richmond City Stadium when the Kickers defeated their southern rivals 3-1 in a stoppage time frenzy.  Budnyy tallied the lone goal for the Hammerheads, but the Kickers rallied back from the early deficit when David Bulow leveled the score with a second half penalty.  It was not until after the 90 minute mark that Agorsor registered back-to-back goals seconds before the full-time whistle to earn all three points.

With a rivalry dating back to the 2006 season, the Kickers hold an all-time series record of 10-4-4 over the Hammerheads.  The two clubs have a history of dramatic finishes, after having met in the USL PRO American Division Semifinals last August when the #3 seed Kickers ousted the #2 seed Hammerheads to advance to the Division Finals 5-4 on penalties. Scoreless for 120 minutes of regulation and overtime, the Kickers converted all five of their penalty kicks before relying on veteran goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale to make a heroic save on the Hammerhead’s fifth attempt to send to the Kickers through to the next round.

Following this weekend’s road trip, the Kickers return to Richmond City Stadium on Friday, July 13 to host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.  Mexican food trucks will be on site and the first 200 fans will receive a stadium cup, courtesy of Northwestern Mutual.