As I said in my preview, 4 points out of this road trip would have been good for back to back games. However, I expected it to be backwards to what actually happened. These results put the Kickers on 14 points out of ten game, and in 4th place so far in USL Pro. While there are still issues with this team, the corner seems to be turning. If they can stay between third and fourth place the rest of the season, I think they can make some noise in the playoffs.
The key to this team, as it has been for the past 12 years, is Ronnie Pascale. While I heard some rumors about how he had been declining last season, and how some commentators wanted him to retire, he has been nothing but stellar the past few game. Maybe Leigh Cowlishaw will be able to convince him to stay on another year.
The other key player from last night’s game was Gerson Dos Santos. The past few matches, I haven’t really seen the best of him; that was changed on Saturday night. He is able to get up and down the field, linking one touch passes together and starting a counter faster than most. A central midfield of Dos Santos and Stanley Nyazamba combines well; if Mike Callahan or Luke Vercollone can fit in as the defensive midfielder and keep some pressure off of the back four, this team can build good attacks out of the back and not just have to rely on the counter.
The goal in this game came off of a Nyazamba free kick in the fifth minute. Luke Vercollone, playing primarily on the wing for this game, was able to get on the end of his free kick. After that goal, the Richmond Kickers did get forward, but were defending for a large portion of the game. But against the second place team in the league, and at their home, that is an acceptable tactic. But that defensive midfield position is one that needs to be settled. Vercollone did it well against D.C. United, and Callahan performed less well in this match. When all of the injuries and absences are finished, I would really like the see what Cowlishaw could put out there.
The Kickers are back in action next weekend, at home on Saturday against the Charlotte Eagles. I won’t be able to make it in person (unfortunately), but there will be places here for you to discuss the game.