Antigua travels to Richmond this week for the first of two match-ups at City Stadium. The two clubs met three times during the 2012 campaign, with the Kickers holding a slight 2-1 edge over their Caribbean rivals. After claiming a 2-0 win in Richmond and narrowly edging the Barracuda 1-0 in Antigua, the Kickers dropped their final regular season match, 2-1, last season.
The Kickers enter Saturday’s game following a back-to-back series against Wilmington and Charlotte last weekend. Claiming three points on the road, veteran midfielder Luke Vercollone converted a second half penalty to give the visitors the lead before 17-year old forward Michael Seaton notched the decisive goal in stoppage time in his professional debut. Twenty-four hours later, the Kickers rallied for a dramatic 3-3 draw with the Eagles after conceding a comfortable lead before a stoppage time comeback courtesy of a Conor Shanosky equalizer.
Meanwhile, Antigua travels to Harrisburg to face the City Islanders on Friday before battling Richmond one day later. Hoping to snap a five-game winless streak this week, the Barracuda most recently dropped points in Tampa and Orlando. Midfielder Tamorley Thomas gave Antigua an 8th minute lead before the visitors weathered three unanswered goals for a 3-1 loss to expansion franchise VSI Tampa Bay FC. Then, Antigua suffered a 7-2 loss to the league-leaders with second half substitute Hazeley Pyle registering a 76th minute goal to prevent the shutout.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Two days after his 17th birthday, forward Michael Seaton (#29) became the youngest player in club history to represent the Kickers when he made his professional debut against the Wilmington Hammerheads on May 3. On loan from D.C. United, the Maryland native signed with D.C. as a Homegrown player in January after impressing with United’s Academy and notched his first professional goal in the Kickers 2-0 win over the Hammerheads last weekend. The Kickers all-time leading scorer, Matthew Delicâte (#7) returned to the lineup Friday for the first time this season after being sidelined through injury. Entering his seventh season with the Kickers, Delicâte eclipsed the franchise’s all-time scoring record in 2012, notching 65 goals and 18 assists in 161 appearances. Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra (#50) joined the Kickers on loan from D.C. United just prior to the 2013 campaign and has since posted a pair of shutouts and a 3-0-2 record to start the season. While on loan to the Charleston Battery last season, the former VCU goalkeeper led the Battery to a 12-6-2 record en route to the USL PRO Championship title.
Barracuda: Following a string of shutouts to start the season, Antigua & Barbuda National Team midfielder Tamorley Thomas (#13) notched the Barracuda’s first goal of the 2013 campaign with an 8th minute tally over VSI Tampa Bay FC last weekend. He made his National Team debut on November 11, 2012 during the CONCACAF Gold Cup qualification match against Haiti and has since earned 15 caps, including seven World Cup Qualifiers. Nineteen-year old defender Hazeley Pyle (#22) notched his first goal for Antigua last week in the 7-2 loss at Orlando to avoid the shutout. Signing prior to the 2012 season, Pyle also brings Antigua and Barbuda National Team experience to the Barracuda roster. Antigua and Barbuda National Team goalkeeper Molvin James (#18) backstopped the Barracuda to three wins during the 2012 season, posting 56 saves in 15 appearances. He signed with the Barracudas in 2011 after spending four seasons in the Antiguan First Division.
U.S. Open Cup Second Round Pairings Announced
The Richmond Kickers will enter the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the Second Round on Tuesday, May 21 when they host the winner of the First Round match-up between the Brooklyn Italians of the NPSL and Icon FC of the USASA at City Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. Second Round winners will be paired against 16 MLS sides on Tuesday, May 28.
The tournament kicks off Tuesday with two play-in matches between amateur clubs, followed by the First Round on Tuesday, May 14 when the two play-in round winners are joined by 30 other amateur sides. The Kickers join seven other USL PRO clubs and six North American Soccer League (NASL) teams for the Second Round one week later.