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Kickers fall to FC Tucson 4-2, setting up rematch in playoffs
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Kickers fall to FC Tucson 4-2, setting up rematch in playoffs

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Kickers goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald makes a save over teammate Juan Pablo Monticelli and South Georgia Tormenta FC’s Josh Phelps Saturday, May 8, 2021.

The Richmond Kickers, after falling 4-2 at FC Tucson in Saturday’s regular-season finale, will face a rematch with Tucson in the quarterfinals of the USL League One Playoffs. The bracket for the six-team playoff field was announced Sunday.

Fifth-seeded Richmond (11-10-7), which clinched its first playoff berth since 2016 on Friday when Toronto FC II beat New England Revolution II, will travel back out to fourth-seeded FC Tucson’s Kino North Stadium to begin playoff competition at 10 p.m. next Saturday. The teams split their regular-season series — the Kickers beat FC Tucson (10-10-8) 1-0 in July. Kickers coach and sporting director Darren Sawatzky coached FC Tucson in 2019.

This past Saturday, Richmond took an initial lead on a 22nd-minute Jonathan Bolanos goal. And Emiliano Terzaghi tied it at 2 in the 49th minute after the Kickers fell behind. But FC Tucson pulled away behind goals from Luca Mastrantonio and Shak Adams in the 52nd and 58th minutes, respectively.

Elsewhere, third-seeded Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (11-6-11) will face sixth-seeded North Texas SC (10-8-10) at 7 p.m. Saturday in another quarterfinal match. Top seed Union Omaha (14-5-9) and second seed Greenville Triumph SC (12-7-9) have byes to next week’s semifinals.

With the conclusion of the regular season, Richmond’s Terzaghi defended his crown as USL League One’s scoring champion. The 28-year-old from Argentina scored 18 goals, four more than anyone else in the league.

Veteran goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald also paced the league with 88 saves, 12 more than runner-up Wallis Lapsley of FC Tucson. He started 27 of 28 games for the Kickers.

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