The Richmond Kickers played two games this weekend, Saturday against Orlando City SC and Sunday against VSI Tampa Bay. Between the two games the Kickers earned four points, although not necessarily in the way most people expected: they beat league-leading Orlando City 2-0 and tied VSI Tampa Bay 0-0. These results help separate the top tier of USL Pro (Orlando City, Richmond, and the Harrisburg City Islanders) from the middle tier, and entrench Richmond in that top group.
Michael Seaton scored the Kickers first goal against Orlando City, after receiving a beautiful through ball from Joseph Ngwenya. Seaton was able to beat his man with speed to get one on one with Miguel Gallardo and put it away. Combine the speed showed in this play with the better physicality he showed in the game against VSI Tampa Bay and you can see what the D.C. United academy staff sees in this player. By the time the USL Pro season is over in late August, Seaton may be ready to get real MLS minutes.
However, the player of the match against Orlando City was Brian Ownby, who scored the second goal on a ridiculous bicycle kick and was creating chances all game for the Kickers. The Houston Dynamo loanee has been an offensive catalyst for the Kickers this year, when not called away for Reserve League duty. With the Dynamo also struggling, however, Ownby's days in Richmond might be numbered.
The second game was a slog from start to finish, with the converted baseball stadium that VSI Tampa Bay plays in completely waterlogged. The Kickers rested Brian Ownby, Joseph Ngwenya, and Mike Callahan, and their offense sputtered because of it. However, the rest for these players was necessary and their goalkeeper was able to bail them out.
In his last two matches from the Richmond Kickers for about a month, Andrew Dykstra starred. He had a number of big saves in both matches, including taking the ball off of the foot of Dennis Chin with Chin in on goal alone and a foot save with his body going the other way. In the VSI Tampa Bay game, he was clearly the man of the match and kept the game level when his defenders, especially the fullbacks, had subpar nights. Richmond will miss their starting keeper dearly, who has led the defense to only nine goals allowed through 14 games this season, which is the best in USL Pro. The only way that Dykstra is still with D.C. United next year is if he is challenging Joe Willis for the starting spot.
Watch the highlights from the Orland City game below and tell me in the comments what you think of Seaton and Dykstra's performances. The Kickers next play against the Dayton Dutch Lions, this Saturday in Beavercreek, Ohio.