While there is no D.C. United game this weekend, there will be D.C. United players in action. While no announcement has been made yet, it is highly likely that a number of players will be loaned to the Richmond Kickers either for their weekend intersquad match and for their preseason game a week from today against the College of William & Mary. After this weekend's intersquad match, there are only two more preseason games to prepare the Kickers for the regular season.
D.C. United is only required to send four players to Richmond, but I believe that number will end up being higher. First, let us take a look at the players who have already been loaned to the Kickers for preseason games:
- Joe Willis: Willis spent all of last season as Bill Hamid's primary backup, with Andrew Dykstra receiving a full season of play in Richmond. This season, so far, Dykstra has been the backup to Hamid and Willis has played two preseason matches for the Kickers. Steve Goff of the Washington Post has said that its likely both backup keepers will get time in Richmond this season to keep them sharp, but it looks like Willis will get first crack down there.
- Collin Martin: Martin, the homegrown attacking midfielder, has also spent two preseason games with the Richmond Kickers so far and seems a likely candidate to spend most of the season down I-95. There is a chance he could be recalled if Luis Silva does not play well, but I think that Ben Olsen would try different formations before bringing Martin back.
- Christiano Francois: Out of all of the players who have seen time in Richmond so far, Francois seems to be the most likely to spend the entire season in Richmond. While he is very fast and has a decent handle on the ball, his passing needs work. If United were forced to recall Francois, it would be a very dire season indeed.
- Conor Shanosky: Shanosky seemed to be a lock to spend more time in Richmond this season, but in his first preseason game with them this year he seemed to break either his arm or his wrist. No one yet knows how long he will be out, but he looks to spend time with Richmond this season when he recovers.
- Michael Seaton: Seaton has a chance to be an in-betweener, but I think that he will spend more time in Richmond than in Washington. After scoring five goals last year for the Kickers, he could and should threaten for the USL PRO scoring title if given a full year; that confidence would be invaluable for him when he comes back to D.C. this season and going into next season.
- Andrew Dykstra: Last season's USL PRO goalkeeper of the year won't spend the whole season in Richmond, but I expect to see him down there so that both keepers can stay fresh.
- Taylor Kemp: When Chris Korb recovers from his knee injury, there is a good chance that Kemp could be sent down to Richmond. Last season he only got a handful of games with the Kickers before injuries and poor play forced him to return to D.C. This season, I would like to see him get more actual playing time if possible.
- Victor Munoz: Has Munoz been officially signed or not? No one from D.C. United has been able to clarify, even after being asked, but it would be strange (although not unheard of) for a team to still have an unsigned trialist around after the first game. Should he actually be a member of D.C. United, I would expect him to get some time down in Richmond as well.