Soccer went head to head with America’s favorite pastime Saturday and won -- at least in Richmond.
The Richmond Kickers rode a wave of high attendance early in the season by attracting 7,603 people to City Stadium. On the same fair-weather evening, April 8, the Richmond Flying Squirrels drew 5,513 fans to The Diamond.
The Squirrels beat Hartford 3-2 in that game, and the Richmond Kickers lost their two-hour match with Louisville City FC 1-0.
The Kickers also filled a higher percentage of their seats. City Stadium seats about 8,000, with more spots available in VIP areas and standing. The metal bleachers on the south side of the stadium are closed because of structural issues.
The Diamond seats more than 12,000 people, but advertising banners covering some seats put capacity closer to 9,500. The Squirrels consistently lead in attendance numbers for their league, and play more frequently than the Kickers, with four consecutive games against Hartford.
The Richmond Kickers recently signed a 40-year lease with the city of Richmond for City Stadium and are planning about $20 million worth of improvements and upgrades. They had a record 8,021-person crowd at their home opener in March.
The Squirrels opened their season April 6, with Mayor Levar Stoney attending to catch a ceremonial first pitch.