After getting four points in their last pair of back to back matches, the Kickers go on the road to North Carolina and lose both games, including a 4-1 loss to the Charlotte Eagles. This currently leaves the Kickers in sixth place, the last playoff spot, and having played three more games than the team directly above them and directly below them. After walking the tightrope for the past few weeks, the Kickers have finally fallen off.
This game started brightly, as many Kickers games do, with Christopher Agorsor scoring in the 19th minute. Gerson dos Santos played Agorsor through as he was able to slot the ball past the Eagles’ keeper. The Eagles scored five minutes later, with Nate Thornton burying a rebound. However, it was in the second half that the wheels really came off, with the Kickers giving up three goals in the last 25 minutes. The Kickers went down 2-1 in the 65th minute, but were still able to create chances, including a Yomby William header that was blocked off the line. The real dagger came in the 86th minute when Miguel Ferrer scored the third goal.
While the defensive struggles are new, this game does highlight a disturbing trend: the Kickers, besides Christopher Agorsor, cannot score goals. Agorsor has five goals so far this year, David Bulow has three, and no one else has more than two. Bulow’s contributions have been somewhat interesting: he has the second most goals on the team but often only features as a late game substitute. Hopefully as the center backs heal and return from international duty, Jason Yeisley can feature more in the attack and be the target option to Agorsor’s speed.
Also of interest in the state of the defense since Shane Johnson has been injured. Ethan White was brought in for the weekend from D.C. United to try and replace Johnson, but performed poorly in the first game and was an 89th minute substitute in the second. In this match, Yomby William returned to partner Jason Yeisely, and the Kickers gave up the most goals they have allowed all year. When Johnson is healthy again, I expect to see him challenging William for the starting spot alongside Henry Kalungi.
This weekend, the Kickers face the Rochester Rhinos at City Stadium and then have a week off to rest and recover. Hopefully they can right the ship at home, and I plan to be in the press box covering it for you.