RICHMOND KICKERS VS NORTH CAROLINA FC
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CARY, N.C. (March 30, 2018) – North Carolina FC will continue its USL season this weekend with a visit to face regional rival Richmond Kickers on Saturday, March 31 at City Stadium in Richmond, Va., at 5 p.m. The meeting will reignite the rivalry between the geographically-linked cities that has spanned over two decades since the Raleigh Flyers and Raleigh Express teams faced off against the Kickers in the 1990s.
The historic series has already produced many great chapters in the rivalry. Richmond owns a 14W-9L advantage in the overall series. The two cities first went head-to-head in a professional soccer setting on Saturday, May 15, 1993 as the Richmond Kickers edged the Raleigh Flyers via a 2-1 result. Raleigh would have to wait until 1994 to claim its first win in the series. Since then, the matchup has rolled on through the years, producing many great moments for soccer on the East Coast.
As an organization, North Carolina FC has never shared the same league until now, but Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches in 2007 and 2009 and consistent preseason friendlies have fueled the rivalry. NCFC owns the better wins in the matchup, ousting Richmond from the Open Cup in both previous meetings.
Along with sharing a region, the teams also share ties through its technical staff and current rosters. NCFC Head Coach, Colin Clarke, began his coaching career with Richmond in 1998 where Curt Johnson, current North Carolina Football Club President and General Manager was serving as the Richmond Kickers General Manager.
On the roster, former NCFC players, Brian Shriver (the club’s all-time leading goal scorer) and Neil Hlavaty, are recognizable names. Additionally, former Puerto Rico FC stars Trevor Spangenburg and Giuseppe Gentile now play for the Kickers after both were common opponents for the club in 2017.
Both teams will enter the contest searching for their first win of the season. Richmond was dealt a tough 4-1 loss to Bethlehem Steel FC in its season opener and then dropped a 1-0 result to the Indy Eleven the following weekend. NCFC had its match against Louisville City FC postponed last weekend after dropping its USL opener to the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Last Time Out:
NCFC made the trip to Louisville City FC and Louisville Slugger Field but the weather and field conditions caused the match to be postponed. A makeup date for the game is still being decided.
Players To Watch:
No. 92 Giuseppe Gentile
Gentile has bothered NCFC in the past during his time with Puerto Rico FC. The attack-minded player will once again look to use his speed to create opportunities in the final third. The Miami native scored four goals and added five assists in 2017 with PRFC.
No. 10 Kyle Bekker
Bekker has looked excellent in NCFC’s only match of the season so far. The midfielder has been a creative engine for the team’s offense and can certainly threaten to score goals on his own. Watch for the Canadian International to put the Richmond defense on its back foot with his versatility.
Coming Up Next:
North Carolina FC will return home to host the Indy Eleven on Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The contest has been dubbed ‘College Night’ and will offer all college students with a valid ID discounted ticket and merchandise deals. To purchase tickets for the match, click here or call the NCFC Ticket Office at 919-459-8144.