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Kickers Host Wilmington Saturday

May 5, 2016 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Richmond Kickers News Release

RICHMOND, VA - (Thursday) - The Richmond Kickers (3-2-1) return to City Stadium this Saturday, May 7 to host the Wilmington Hammerheads (2-2-2) and Bark & Brew Fest, presented by Best Bully Sticks. The dog-friendly craft beer festival starts at 5:30 p.m. with live music by Back Seat Drivers, over a dozen craft beers and ciders on tap, a pet-centric market and RVA food trucks before the Kickers pro game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at

The Kickers and the Hammerheads swap home field advantage this Saturday after battling to a scoreless draw in Wilmington on April 1. A stalwart Kickers defense, backstopped by goalkeeper Ryan Taylor, held their long-time rivals to just three shots to record their first of three shutouts this season. Since then, Taylor suffered a severe knee injury in Charlotte three weeks later that will sideline him for the remainder of the season.

Calling in the services of New England Revolution goalkeeper, Matt Turner, the Kickers rebounded from a pair of unsuccessful road matches to shut out Toronto FC II at City Stadium last Saturday. After late game dramatics and a controversial penalty call cost the Kickers a 3-2 loss in Charlotte one week earlier, Brian Ownby's lone goal against Toronto lifted the Kickers to a much-needed victory.

Meanwhile, the Hammerheads most recently earned a hard-fought point on the road in front of over 11,000 rain-drenched fans at FC Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium. After Cincinnati's goalkeeper stifled a Qudus Lawal penalty kick, Wilmington forward Bruno Perone redirected a low corner kick to give the visitors the lead just before the half hour mark. Conceding the equalizer just after the break, the Hammerheads weathered 18 shots to preserve the point on the road.

The Kickers and the Hammerheads close out the three game series at Legion Stadium in the regular season finale on Friday, September 23.

Players to Watch

Kickers: Absent from the starting lineup for time with the Guam National Team, followed by injury, Alex Lee (#18) returned last week and immediately earned Team of the Week honors after contributing to the shutout against Toronto FC II. Signing with the Kickers prior to the 2013 campaign, the defender was the first pick in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft for FC Dallas following a standout collegiate career at the University of Maryland. Last week, Brian Ownby (#22) posted his first goal of the season to lift the Kickers to a 1-0 win against Toronto FC II at City Stadium. The homegrown midfielder out of Deep Run High School and University of Virginia tallied five goals and four assists in 14 appearances last season before a season-ending injury kept him sidelined for nine months. Filling in for the injured Ryan Taylor, goalkeeper Matt Turner (#40) returns on loan from Major League Soccer's New England Revolution. Signing with New England earlier this spring after a standout career at Fairfield University, Turner earned his first professional start and first professional shutout against Toronto in Richmond last week.

Hammerheads: Justin Moose (#10) anchors the Hammerheads midfield again this season after making 24 appearances in 2015 and posting a pair of goals, including one against the Kickers in the 2015 season opening draw in Wilmington. The MLS veteran was drafted by D.C. United out of Wake Forest University in 2006 before claiming a Championship title with the then-USL side Vancouver Whitecaps during a three-year stint. Last year, the Hammerheads made a late-season trade with Seattle Sounders FC for the services of Qudus Lawal (#11) who made an immediate impact, posting two goals and two assists in just 11 appearances. This season, the 20-year old Nigerian forward has picked up where he left off, contributing the game-winning goal against FC Montreal in April. Playing every minute of every game so far this season, Bruno Perone (#23) notched his second goal of the season in the hard-fought 1-1 draw at FC Cincinnati last week. Leading the team with four points, while also contributing to a pair of shutouts, the veteran defender signed with Wilmington prior to the 2016 season following an extensive professional career in Brazil and a stint in the English Premier League.

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