I know that you all missed me these past two weeks; I missed you too! Surprise of all surprises, the Richmond Kickers had two 1-0 games since I last talked to you. One was a victory against the LA Blues, while the other was a loss to the Wilmington Hammerheads. A lack of multi-goal games has been a theme for the Kickers this season, and one that leaves them tied for the very last playoff spot.
However, tonight’s opponent is the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, who are currently 6 points behind the Kickers and gave up 3 goals in their last match. If ever there was a time for a rebound win, especially at home, this would be it.
However, the Kickers have some reinforcements for this game. Ethan White and Long Tan have been loaned from D.C. United to the Kickers for this match, and club legend Mike Burke has been persuaded to come out of retirement and help with the rest of the season. And as I write this, the Kickers have announced the signing of midfielder Phillippe Davies, most recently with the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 team, which plays in the USL PDL. All look to be available for tonight’s game, but which will start? Find out below.
Game Time: 7:00pm
Video: As with all Kickers home games, there is no streaming.
Lineup: Averaging out the past two matches leaves me with a lineup like this:
Goerres White Yeisley Vercollone
Heins Dos Santos Callahan Fogelsong
As for the newcomers, I expect Ethan White and Long Tan to start. Tan is the first Chinese player in MLS and is a speedy and creative forward. However, he was traded to D.C. United after a fallout with the Whitecaps front office over playing time. With only one game in town, Tan would be a good bet to give Agorsor at least a little rest. I do not expect Mike Burke to get many starts, especially not right now; he’ll be more of a late game assassin, whipping in deadly free kicks.
Phillippe Davies could be a surprise starter in the center or on the right wing, but I would see him most likely fitting into Gerson Dos Santos’s attacking midfield spot. Benjamin Massey, who writes about the Vancouver Whitecaps for SB Nation, describes him as such: “Quality. Central playmaking MF who can also go down right wing. Not much of a shooter. Really improved defensively in 2011.” Massey also thinks that Davies could be a leading USL Pro player quickly. I wouldn’t mind seeing him start that journey tonight.
Prediction: Nothing less than 3 points is acceptable. 2-0 win for the Kickers, with goals from Delicate and Tan.
What are you drinking: No drinks tonight, as I am in the press box. However, I have a nice Alewerks Brewery (formerly Williasmburg Alewerks) witbier waiting for me at home.
As for all gamee, I’ll try to get a live blog going after the jump. Feel free to join in!
Pregame: The lineup for the Richmond Kickers features four center backs: Johnson, William, Yeisley, and White, and also features Sascha Goerres playing in midfield. Long Tan and Christopher Agorsor look to start up front.
The teams are taking the field, the anthem has been played, and we’re about to get going!
1′: And we’re off!
4′ Its good to see Shane Johnson back out there; he played well for the Kickers before getting injured.
5′ Long Tan pulls a nice twirl in midfield to get away from a Riverhound, before getting knocked to the ground and drawing a foul.
6′ Free kick by Gerson Dos Santos meets William’s head, but the header is wide and high.
7′ Sliding shot by Goerres goes high.
8′ Long shot is tipped over the bar by Ronnie Pascale, out for a corner.
9′ Agorsor counters after the corner, but misses Long Tan in support and tries to take it to goal himself.
10′ Free kick from a dangerous area is puttered into the wall by Yeisley. Dos Santos dummied first, and might have been better for him to take it.
12′ Pascale cleans up a mess in front of his goal, but a Riverhound is slow to get up before the corner.
14′ Yomby William is caught in possession in a dangerous place, but eventually it is cleared away.
15′ Gerson Dos Santos header is easily corralled by Gilstrap.
17′ Dangerous ball in by Heins is nearly headed home by Agorsor; skips just wide.
18′ Quiet game so far for both Ethan White and Long Tan, for you DCU fans following along. White just slowed up a quick counter and just poked another ball away. Tan has looked tricky on the ball, but only with a few touches so far.
22′ Agorsor was just called for a foul when the Riverhound landed on top of him….
24′ Agorsor beats the goalie to the ball and Gilstrap clatters into him, with a decent shout for a penalty. The ball comes to Vercollone with the keeper still nowhere to be found, and puts the shot just over.
26′ Tan picks up the ball deep in the Kickers half and gets the ball up to Heins; Heins plays Agorsor in, but he pushes the ball just wide.
27′ Yomby William has not looked so far tonight, or really any of the games he’s been back so far. I’d rather see Shane Johnson pushed back into the middle, where we excelled early in the season.
29′ Free kick by Louie Rolko from midfield is caught by Ronnie Pascale.
30′ Tan gets the ball caught under his own feet, but is able to recover to keep the attack alive.
32′ Tan gets the ball from Heins in the 18 and puts in a dangerous cross, but no one is able to get on the end of it.
34′ White gets in the way of an attacker, preventing him from getting a shot on frame.
37′ Agorsor wins a free kick from about 30 yards out. Dos Santos over it.
37′ KICKERS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Dos Santos puts the ball in, and Yomby William gets on the end of it!
41′ Long Tan gets a head on a ball following a corner, but he’s too far wide to do anything dangerous with it.
42′ Vercollone wins the ball in the midfield and pokes it to Long Tan; Tan takes it to the corner of the 18 and puts in a cross/shot, which just barely misses the back post.
44′ Shane Johnson’s cross is long, but the Kickers have been on the front foot for the past 15 minutes.
45′ KICKERS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Agorsor puts the ball on frame, and it bounces off the back of Gilstrap’s heel and in!
45’+ And that’s the half! The Kickers are up 2-0 with a solid display; I’ll be back in a few with some more coherent halftime thoughts (plus a specific report on the DCU loanees.)
Oh, and breaking news if you are here and somehow didn’t see it on twitter: NYRB has acquired Sebastian LeToux….
Halftime thoughts: the Kickers’ attack has been clicking, with Gerson Dos Santos, Ryan Heins, Luke Vercollone, and Christopher Agorsor playing especially well. While the defense has been mostly solid, I still don’t like the way that Yomby William defends. His balls often going 50 feet in the air and then land 5 feet from where they started. He did get the goal, but I still don’t know if I want him in there.
The Riverhounds have had a few moments of possession, but for the most part have been put on the back foot by the Kickers’ attack. They are going to need to change something in the center of midfield to start to build attacks.
Amoo on and Lundberg off for the Riverhounds, no changes for the Kickers. And we are underway!
47′ Goerres with a corner, but it is knocked wide.
49′ Ethan White is now on the press box side of the field, and I must say he has been doing a good job of getting forward. His crosses still let you know he’s a center back, though.
51′ Goerres with another shot from his rear end, and this one trickles just wide.
52′ Pittsburgh with a decent sequence then, but the final touch squirts straight to Pascale.
53′ Agorsor gets the offside trap, but his shot is trapped by Gilstrap. After the clearance, Agorsor gets the ball back and, after a nice turn, gets off another shot, which Gilstrap saves.
55′ Pittsburgh with some half chances, but the first is blocked and the second is easily collected. After the sequence, Kassel fouls Agorsor and throws a temper tantrum on the field. He is given a yellow. (Typical former MetroStar)
56′ Subs! Matt Delicate comes in for Shane Johnson, and Mike Callahan comes in for Gerson Dos Santos. As they come in, Leigh Cowlishaw gives Long Tan and Ethan White some particular instructions.
58′ With the subs, Goerres moves back to left back and Long Tan has been pushed out to the right.
60′ Pittsburgh free kick in is caught by Pascale. Upcoming sub for Pittsburgh: Ricky Smith in, Mike Seth out. As the sub comes in, Richmond has won a free kick from about 23 yards. Goerres takes the free kick, and smashes it off the crossbar.
64′ Tan tees it up from long range, but the powerful shot is wide. Kickers again with the clear majority of possession so far this half.
67′ Tan with a bicycle clearance from the top of the Kickers’ box to relieve some pressure.
68′ Callahan frees Tan down the right sideline; his cross hangs in the air, and Gilstrap is able to get to it just before Heins does.
69′ Yellow card on Pittsburgh’s Ricky Smith for a hard tackle.
71′ Mike Green is coming in for Neil Shaffer for Pittsburgh, and the game has gotten a little disjointed the past few minutes.
74′ And now Delicate is given a yellow for a hard tackle from behind.
75′ Pittsburgh is called offside in the box, but the shot is wide regardless.
77′ Pittsburgh looking more dangerous now, with a cross just missing a runner in the box. Also, another Riverhounds sub: Ben Horner in, Nikola Katic out.
79′ After some nice interchange between Tan and White, the ball gets to Heins, whose cross is dangerous but unconverted. And now a Kickers sub is coming: Hiroyama in, Agorsor out.
83′ Gilstrap comes out to catch a ball but can’t quite get to it, and so has to block Delicate and escort the ball out of bounds.
84′ Yomby William blocks a ball out for a corner, which is caught by Pascale.
85′ Vercollone hacked down in the box for a penalty! Matt Delicate steps up to take it! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL KICKERS as Deli converts! 3-0!
86′ After the penalty, Kickers legend Mike Burke comes in for Ryan Heins.
88′ Nyazamba comes in for Luke Vercollone, who had a very good game.
90′ Pittsburgh draws a penalty and converts it, 3-1.
90’+ Another Kickers goal, but it is called juuuust offside.
And that’s a final! It was a weird end to the game, but the result works for me: 3-1 Richmond! I’ll be back with the full game report, likely tomorrow morning.