The Richmond Kickers: Match #5 vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves

Fresh off their first victory of the season, the Richmond Kickers return for the start of a long home stretch to take on the Chattanooga Red Wolves.

Last week, for the first time in USL League One, the Richmond Kickers took home three points. To do so on the road and without their captain makes it all more impressive. Now with a series of league matches and the US Open Cup first round at home, the Kickers have a good opportunity to push towards the playoff line and entertain City Stadium.

The Richmond View

Record: 1-2-1

Last Time Out: 1-0 victory at Greenville Triumph.

1) Passing & Possession.  Richmond entered the season with the philosophy to maintain the ball, control the game, and build out of the back. Going down early in the season opener and then losing a man in the first half at Lansing hurt the team’s ability to implement that system effectively. On the most recent episode of the Total Soccer Show, Coach Bulow mentioned that he wants to see the Kickers operating with higher passing accuracy. After four matches Richmond is second in the league in passes but sixth in passing accuracy.

2) Gallardo & Boateng. The last time Richmond was at home was Charles Boateng’s first start and appearance. The nil-nil draw picked up the season’s first point, but Boateng was the standout attacker that week. He’s only played 117 minutes (out of a possible 360) and is third on the roster in shots taken. Meanwhile, Gallardo leads the team in goals (2), has a 100% record of getting his shots on target (3 for 3), and is fourth in tackles. Both players want the ball and want to attack. Hopefully, Saturday we can see them begin to build a partnership.

3) Shanosky or Magalhaes? The Richmond first choice backline is nearly set. Lockaby, Ackwei, and Thomsen are locked into the starting XI in front of Fitzgerald. But who exactly is the coaches favorite for the other center back role, or who fits the system better seems to still be up for debate. Both have two starts and stats that can back up why they get the nod over their teammate. With a long home stretch ahead, both players should get starts, but exactly who is CB #2 should be clear by the time the Kickers hit the road again.

Who you should know: Chattanooga Red Wolves (2-2-0)

Steven Beattie. The Ireland native joined Chattanooga after several seasons with Cork City in the Irish League, winning the title in 2017. He scored the Red Wolves first-ever goal and sits second in the league charts with three goals from just five shots across four matches. Add in five chances created and an assist, and you have the player the Kickers should be most concerned with.

Éamon Zayed. The 35-year-old has been just about everywhere. Born in Ireland, he featured for the Republic of Ireland’s U-21’s but eventually went on to represent Libya eight times at the senior level. He’s played professionally in Ireland, England, Norway, Iran, and Malaysia before heading to USL where he appeared 84 times between stints at Indy Eleven and the Charlotte Independence. Two goals, an assist, and leading the team in chances created, Zayed will be another test for the Richmond backline.

Alex Mangels. The Red Wolves keeper has USL Championship experience with the Tulsa Roughnecks and Portland Timbers 2. He leads USL League One in saves, with 12, and has one clean sheet. Richmond may need to up their shots on target per match to beat Chattanooga’s number one.

Who, When & How

Richmond Kickers vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves

Saturday, 4/27, at 7 PM Eastern Time

Watch on ESPN+

Nathan Reynolds

Writer covering the Richmond Kickers in USL League One. Experience as a WordPress developer, editor, podcaster, and writer for European and US soccer leagues.