Richmond Kickers News Release -- www.richmondkickers.com
Friday, May 25, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers return to regular season action at City Stadium this Saturday night when they host the Wilmington Hammerheads. Following this weekend’s USL PRO match-up, the Kickers host D.C. United of Major League Soccer on Tuesday night in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Third Round. Kickoff for both games is slated for 7 p.m. and tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
“The team needs 100% focus for this game,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Head Coach and Director of Soccer. “Wilmington will no doubt look for a positive response after a disappointing loss in the Open Cup while we must forget about Tuesday's D.C. United match-up and concentrate all efforts on securing the three points we desperately need.”
With a rivalry dating back to the 2006 season, the Kickers hold an all-time series record of 9-3-4 over the Hammerheads. The two clubs face off this weekend for the first time since a dramatic finish in the USL PRO American Division Semifinals last August when the No.3-seed Kickers ousted the No.2-seed Hammerheads to advance to the Division Final 5-4 on penalties. Scoreless after 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.
The Kickers swept the regular-season series against their southern rivals in 2011. Narrowly edging the Hammerheads 2-1 at Richmond City Stadium, Kickers midfielder Gerson Dos Santos and forward Matthew Delicâte each tallied to rally back from a one-goal deficit in May. Later in the season, Ryan Heins and Delicâte recorded a pair of goals at Legion Stadium to shut out the Hammerheads on the road.
Prior to Tuesday night’s U.S. Open Cup 4-0 victory over the Aegean Hawks, the Richmond Kickers posted their fourth consecutive draw during the 2012 campaign, battling the Pittsburgh Riverhounds to a 1-1 stalemate. Scoreless though the first half, the Riverhounds broke the ice seconds before the break when forward Ricky Smith connected on a pass from Anthony Calvano. The Kickers answered in the second half when a series of chances led to the equalizer as Delicâte buried his second goal in as many games.
Meanwhile, the Hammerheads were ousted from this year’s Open Cup tournament, suffering a 4-0 loss to Cal FC. Three days earlier, they rallied to a 1-1 tie against the Charlotte Eagles when midfielder Hagop Chirishian registered two minutes after entering the match off the bench to level the score in the 75th minute. Earning their second consecutive draw, the Hammerheads reside just two points ahead of the Kickers in the standings with a 2-2-3 record and nine points.
Richmond and Wilmington are scheduled to meet twice more this season, with the Kickers heading south to Legion Stadium on Friday, June 15 and Saturday, July 7.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Newcomer Christopher Agorsor recently signed with the Kickers after stints with the Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer. The speedy forward notched his second and third professional goals in the Kickers' 4-0 win over the Aegean Hawks in the U.S. Open Cup Second Round on Tuesday night.
Midfielder Gerson Dos Santos also contributed to the scoreline against the Hawks, nodding home his first goal of the 2012 campaign earlier this week. Anchoring the Kickers midfield for his fourth season, the Virginia Commonwealth University product earned USL PRO Team of the Week honors following a solid performance in the midfield during the Kickers' 1-1 draw in Pittsburgh last week.
Defender Luke Vercollone also represented the Kickers on this week’s USL PRO Team of the Week after stifling the Pittsburgh attack before registering an assist in the Kickers' U.S. Open Cup victory four days later.
Hammerheads: Andriy Budnyy signed with Wilmington prior to the 2011 season, finishing second on the team with eight goals in 20 appearances. The Ukrainian forward has netted three goals during the young 2012 season, including a pair of tallies against Antigua Barracuda earlier this month.
Former Chivas USA player Chuck Chijindu joined the Hammerheads in 2012, after making 16 appearances with USL PRO rivals Los Angeles Blues during the 2011 campaign. The native of Upland, Calif. has played six of the Hammerheads seven games this season.
Midfielder Hagop Chirishian tallied his first goal for the Hammerheads during last week’s 1-1 draw with Charlotte. Earning USL PRO Team of the Week honors, he netted the equalizer two minutes after entering the match off the bench.
U.S. Open Cup
The Richmond Kickers advanced to the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup with a convincing 4-0 victory against the Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association Tuesday night. Early goals by Christopher Agorsor and Gerson Dos Santos gave the visiting Kickers the lead that they held throughout the match. Agorsor netted his second tally of the night two minutes before Nozomi Hiroyama rounded out the scoreline in the 84th minute to earn the Kickers a Major League Soccer match-up, as they play host to D.C. United for the first time in four years at Richmond City Stadium next Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $15, youth and adult and are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com. For group tickets, please contact Cody Johnson at 804-644-5425 x 311 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All-Access Passes will be accepted for this match; however, Family Passes, Adult Pro Passes, Youth Pro Passes and Flex-Tickets will not be valid.