An abysmal trip east ended in defeat for the L.A. Blues on Tuesday night, a 1-0 USL Pro decision at Richmond sending them to their franchise-record third successive loss.
Ryan Heins scored the goal for the Kickers (5-5-5), who vaulted the Blues and Harrisburg into fifth place in the third-division league's standings, squarely into playoff position.
The Blues (5-6-2), who lost late last week at Charlotte and Wilmington and have games Friday and Sunday at Cal State Fullerton against first-place Orlando City -- the reigning USL Pro champs -- dropped to seventh place and could fall as far as ninth if things don't turn this weekend. The top six teams advance to the postseason.
L.A., which started the second half of its campaign, has lost three in a row just once before: last year's playoff defeat at Harrisburg and shutout losses to Rochester in the first two games this season.
The game did not start well for the Blues, who lost captain Ricky Waddell in the 13th minute. He twisted his knee in a tackle, causing damage to his meniscus, and tests will be required when he returns home to determine the extent of the injury.
Israel Sesay hit the crossbar moments after coming on for Waddell. A Matt Fondy breakaway was thwarted by Henry Kalungi's fine defensive play in the 29th minute. Two more chances -- by Allan Russell just before halftime and Irving Garcia with about 15 minutes to go -- were just wide of the mark.
Heins scored after Edson Elcock's run to the left byline. His feed back through the box cleared two Kickers players, and Heins fired over goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh.
The shutout ended Portland Timbers loaner Bright Dike's four-game goal streak.
Richmond City Stadium (Richmond, Va.)
Richmond Kickers 1, L.A. Blues 0
R -- Ryan Heins (Edson Elcock) 66
Richmond Kickers: Ronnie Pascale; Norris White, Gerson Dos Santos (Luke Vercollone, 58), Henry Kalungi, Sascha Görres; Noazomi Hiroyama (Edson Elcock, 58), Michael Callahan, Ryan Heins (David Bulow, 85); Matthew Delicate, Christopher Agorsor (Bobby Foglesong, 85), Jason Yeisley. Unused subs: Ryan Jones, Ross MacKenzie, Yomby William.
L.A. Blues: Amir Abedzadeh; Bryan Burke, Erlys Garcia, Ebrima Jatta, Sun-Hyung Cho (Cory Miller, 46); George Davis IV, Allan Russell (Irving Garcia, 68), Ricky Waddell (Israel Sesay, 13), Carlos Borja; Bright Dike, Matt Fondy (Brian Farber, 68). Unused subs: Juan Miranda.
Yellow cards: Russell 60, Miller 79.
Referee: Charles Carson. Att.: 1,424.
Records: Richmond Kickers 5-5-5, 20 points; L.A. Blues 5-6-2, 17 points.