Richmond Kickers News Release -- www.richmondkickers.com
Thursday, May 30, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers look to continue their undefeated run in USL PRO this Friday night when they host Phoenix FC at 7 p.m. Join the Kickers for Happy Hour at City Stadium when the gates open at 6 p.m. with live music from the Acousta-Lites, draft beer trucks and food trucks. Tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
“It’s vital that we rebound from the disappointing loss to D.C. United with another inspirational home performance,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “So far we’ve played 10 games, won six, tied four and conceded only eight goals. Confidence is high and we continue to improve in all areas of our play. We now need to dig deep physically and make sure, on Friday night, we deliver the positive attitude and hunger for success we have shown in our previous 10 games.”
The Kickers enter Friday’s match three days after a heartbreaking penalty shootout loss to their official MLS affiliate, D.C. United, in the U.S. Open Cup Third Round. Scoreless through 120 minutes of regulation and overtime, the winner was determined when United goalkeeper Joe Willis made a pair of heroic saves while D.C. converted all four of its penalties to advance to the fourth round.
Unbeaten through their first eight regular season games, the Kickers are coming off a 2-0 win against USL PRO rivals the Harrisburg City Islanders. D.C. United loanees were integral in obtaining the critical three points with goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra posting nine saves to preserve his third shutout of the season and forward Michael Seaton rounding out the scoreline with his second professional goal. Signing 24 hours before the Kickers season opener out of the club’s preseason combine, midfielder Nate Robinson made his scoring debut, tallying the game-winning goal that allowed the team to leapfrog the City Islanders into third place in the USL PRO standings.
Friday’s match marks the first-ever meeting between the Kickers and Phoenix, who kicked off their inaugural USL PRO season in March. The Wolves head into the first leg of a back-to-back East coast road trip following a 2-2 draw with the Charlotte Eagles last week. The back-and-forth affair saw the Wolves level the score twice in the first half with midfielder Scott Morrison and defender Donny Toia notching the crucial equalizers before the break. Phoenix currently resides in 10th place in the USL PRO standings, carrying a 2-5-3 record into Friday’s contest.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Splitting time between the Richmond Kickers and Houston Dynamo, midfielder Brian Ownby returned to his home town on loan from the MLS side in early April. Since then, the former Richmond Strikers and University of Virginia midfielder has bolstered the Kickers attack, recording one goal and four assists, most recently setting up a goal against Harrisburg last week.
Joining the Kickers defense on loan from D.C. United in April, Conor Shanosky registered his first professional goal with a stoppage-time equalizer in the Kickers thrilling 3-3 tie with Charlotte earlier this month. The 6-foot-4 defender made his first start with United’s first team on the opposite side of the pitch at City Stadium in the U.S. Open Cup Third Round match on Tuesday.
Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra backstopped the Kickers to a scoreless draw through regulation and overtime against D.C. United. With an overall goals against average of just 0.77, the VCU product anchors the second-best defensive unit in the league, having allowed just eight goals in 10 games played.
Phoenix FC: Nineteen-year old midfielder Netinho led the Wolves to their first-ever win in club history when he notched the lone goal in the 1-0 victory over fellow expansion franchise VSI Tampa Bay FC in March. Having played with renowned Brazilian side Santos FC since he was 14, the youngster signed with Phoenix prior to the 2013 campaign.
Signing with MLS side Real Salt Lake as the club’s first Homegrown player prior to the 2011 season, defender Donny Toia joined the Wolves after a one-year stint with FC Tucson. Playing all but one minute with the Wolves defense, he doubles as an offensive threat, posting his second goal of the season in the 2-2 draw against Charlotte last week.
Former Brazilian youth national team midfielder Diego Faria signed with the Wolves after spending time with his hometown club América T.O. The playmaker has been the most prolific player for the Wolves, attempting 12 shots while converting two goals and an assist.