After a rocky start to the preseason, the Richmond Kickers are finally on a roll. Their current streak started with a 6-1 win over Longwood University, continued with a 3-0 over Virginia Commonwealth University, and kept going with a 4-0 win last night over James Madison University. D.C. United loanees Conor Shanosky and Taylor Kemp got the start, with Shanosky playing center back and Taylor Kemp playing left back. Houston Dyanmo loanee Brian Ownby also started, playing out on the left wing and scoring the second goal. The Kickers will play one more closed door preseason game this weekend, but have closed out their preseason games in Richmond.
Shanosky played like you would think a young hybrid center back/defensive midfielder would play: good in possession but occasionally exposed on the defensive side of the ball. The Kickers emphasized playing out of the back, with Shanosky and his center back partner William Yomby moving the ball forward into the attack. Shanosky took a number of Jakovic-esque runs forward, but was not beaten out of position and was able to distribute well. He also showed impressive speed, catching up to a JMU attacker already at full speed and taking the ball off of him. However, he also dribbled himself into the corner and gave up a quick long throw that led to one of JMU's few good chances. When Kickers captain Henry Kalungi returns from international duty, Shanosky may move back to midfield; hopefully sometime soon he'll actually find a position and stick with it.
Taylor Kemp played the first half at left back and was mostly involved in the attack, staying wide to allow left midfielder Brian Ownby to cut inside. The combined attack of Ownby and Kemp was the Kickers' most dangerous throughout the first half, with Ownby scoring a goal in the run of play and with another nice shot that was just past the far post. More time together will make this partnership even more dangerous. Other Kickers who played well include Joseph Haboush, Yomby William, and Jason Yeisley; neither Casey Townsend nor Michael Seaton played in this game
Something new for the Kickers this year is the fact that all of their games, both home and away, will be streamed online for free on USL Live. The quality is not always the greatest, but the streaming works and is available for playback on demand. One final change is that, for their 21st season, the Kickers will finally allow beer purchases in City Stadium. The season starts on April 6 with the Kickers hosting the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.