The Richmond Kickers played the Pittsburgh Riverhounds to an entertaining 0-0 draw last night at City Stadum in front of 3268 fans. Both halves started with the Kickers dominating possession, with the Riverhounds taking over in the middle of the half. In the first half, the Kickers were able to weather the storm and regain possession towards the end of the half, but in the second the Kickers bunkered in a bit. The Kickers problem was a bit similar to D.C. United's: a lack of chances on goal, although they did have 11 shots and forced 4 saves. However, as the attacking quartet of Joseph Haboush, Casey Townsend, Jason Yeisley, and Brian Ownby (who was out injured tonight) get more time together, I imagine that will improve.
Two D.C. United players particularly stood out: Casey Townsend and Taylor Kemp. Townsend led the line for the Kickers and was able to use his speed and his ball skills to fool Riverhound defenders on multiple occasions; one particular instance that stood out was when he streaked down the line, got double teamed, and spun free into miles of open space to put a cross in. A few times, however, his brain got ahead of his feet and it led to an attack breaking down.
Kemp did not have much to do in the first half, but in the second half he got more involved and looked good doing so. On the offensive side, Kemp was able to both stay wide and put in crosses and cut into the middle, dribble dangerously, and cause fouls to earn free kicks. Defensively, he was able to use his speed and positioning to tackle the ball away from a streaking attacker just outside of the 18.
Andrew Dykstra looked a little shaky throughout the game. In the first half, he came off of his line a couple of times, only to change his mind and retreat back towards his goal. As the game wore on, he was tested more and more often and was up to the task. I’m not worried about him, seeing as how he won the USL Pro championship last season; he has only been down here for a few days. Conor Shanosky played center defense and was solid in all that he was asked to do, even coming up with a header just wide of the goal on a set piece.
Other players who played well included attacking midfielder Joseph Haboush, who combined well with Casey Townsend, and captain Henry Kalungi, playing physically in a defensive midfielder role. All in all, I was happy the way that the D.C. United loanees played and am excited to see them continue to develop. The Kickers are back in action this coming Saturday, taking on the Charleston Battery at City Stadium.