After a string of disappointing results and scrappy wins, the Richmond Kickers broke out with a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds this past weekend. If they want to continue their streak of consecutive playoff appearances, currently at eight, alive they will have to continue their winning ways against the Dayton Dutch Lions. The Dutch Lions are coming off of a win against the Harrisburg City Islanders but currently sit seven points behind the Kickers for the last playoff spot. As with the game against the Riverhounds, this is one that the Kickers must win if they expect to get to the playoffs. There are five teams battling for three playoff spots who are all within 3 points of each other, which leaves no room for error.
This will be the match where we found out if the offensive explosion mounted against the Riverhounds was a sign of this team turning the corner or if it is just a sign of how poorly the the Riverhounds played in that match. Leigh Cowlishaw’s lineup choices will depend on what players he has available, particularly whether or not the on-loan players from D.C. United will be around for this game. Personally, I think that Long Tan will again be loaned to the Kickers for this match as well as most of the rest of the matches of the year, barring an injury crisis up I-95. Ethan White, however, is a bigger question; D.C. United’s starting right back, Robbie Russell, is injured and likely to be out for at least a month. United have only one true fullback on the bench, Chris Korb, and their emergency right back, Andy Najar, is currently in London with the Honduran Olympic Team. All of that is to say that I would not be surprised if United kept White at least until the Olympics are over.
With that in mind, here are my predictions for the starting lineup this weekend:
Johnson Kalungi Yeisley Goerres
Heins dos Santos Vercollone Fogelsong
I know that Long Tan hasn’t been officially re-loaned to the Kickers, but I am thinking he likely will; if not, Matthew Delicate will start in his place. I am also hoping to get a look at Phillippe Davies in this game, especially if what has been said about him is true. Ideally, I would like to see him come in at around the 60th minute for Gerson dos Santos and keep the game from turning into the disjointed slog it was last week after dos Santos left.
As for a prediction? I am going to go with a 2-0 victory of the Dutch Lions, keeping the Kickers on track for a playoff spot. What do you all see?