Richmond Kickers in playoff matchup against FC Tucson Saturday – Their goal is to “score more than them”

Local Sports

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Richmond Kickers secured its first-ever USL League One playoff berth after finishing the season with 40 points, now they will take on fourth seed FC Tucson this Saturday.

In the short history of the USL League One, which had its inaugural season in 2019, the Kickers have never made the playoffs. Part of the reason for this, however, is the fact that in 2019 only four teams qualified for the playoffs and in 2020, due to COVID, only a championship game between the top two teams was played.

This year, the top eight teams will secure a playoff bid and with the Kickers in the fifth seed they are set to take on four-seed FC Tucson.

“We’re not excited to be in the playoffs,” Kickers’s Head Coach Darren Sawatzky said. “We’re humble and we’re glad that we’re here but that’s the expectation. We plan on being in the playoffs every year and we want to fight for trophies.”

The Rivery City’s team finished the year with a 11-7-10 record. Many of the 11 wins came late in the season as the team finished the season on a 5-2 streak.

Sawatazky’s squad will take on the club he just recently managed in 2019, FC Tucson. The two teams played each other in the final game of the regular season with the Kickers losing 4-2.

“[We need to] score more than them,” Sawatzky said sarcastically about the upcoming rematch. “To be honest, they scored a couple of goals [in the season finale] that they’re not gonna score this Saturday. We got to defend better as a group and I think you’ll see that on Saturday.”

Luckily for Sawatazky, scoring more goals shouldn’t be that tall of an order for his club, as 2021 Golden Boot winner Emiliano Terzaghi is in his starting 11.

“[Winning the Golden Boot] this year was more important to me because it’s a way of backing up what I did last year,” Terzaghi said. “The league knows about me now and the level of the league has raised a lot so it has even more relevance to accomplish.”

The Argentina native scored 18 goals in his 27 games played, four more than anyone else in the league. His 18-goal mark also surpassed the single-season goal record of 16, which was set by former North Texas SC forward Ronaldo Damus in 2019.

In that last game against FC Tucson, the Arizona club managed to hold Terzaghi to only one goal, which came off a penalty, despite the Kicker’s 15 shots. 

Instead of traveling back to Richmond after the game last Saturday, the team stayed in Tucson and has been practicing there this past week. Sawatzky and Terzaghi both agreed that this schedule has benefited the team.

“Taking out the distractions and only focusing on the game that we have in front of us, it’s an advantage for us,” Terzaghi said. “The focus is entirely on the game and only on the game.”

The game is set to kick off on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. at Kino North Stadium in Tucson, Arizona, and can be watched on ESPN+.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Enter the Pro Football Challenge

Pro Football Challenge
Pro Football Challenge

StormTracker 8

Trending Stories

More Trending Stories

Local Events