The Richmond Kickers won their opening home game, beating the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3-1 in front of 3,507 fans. The first half was dominated by the Kickers, who probably deserved another goal. The attack ran through Collin Martin, who looked smooth on all of his touches and who was able to dance away from any Riverhounds defender who came his way. Last week's player of the week George Davis IV also looked good throughout the game, combining well with Martin and putting a number of shots on goal.
The first goal started with Collin Martin dribbling through the Pittsburgh defense and no one being able to stop him. His shot was deflected by a Riverhounds defender and Michael Seaton was able to collect it. Seaton's shot was easily past the keeper, and he probably should have had one or two more goals throughout the evening. Throughout the game, Seaton looked head and shoulders above the Pittsburgh defense, able to out-dribble them and physically stronger than them.
The second goal started with Samuel Asante stealing the ball in the midfield and making a good run forward. He played the ball into Kyle Porter, who was able to evade the oncoming goalkeeper to put a slow roller into the back of the net. Overall, Porter played much like he typically does for D.C. United: strong runs, but poor with passing and crossing. However, when playing more like a forward and released from most of his defensive duties, he was able to put himself into dangerous positions.
After the second goal, the Kickers let the Riverhounds control most of the possession, but still pressured them on the ball and did not allow many chances. One that was close was a cross by Brian Ownby that Ryan Taylor had to punch away, taking out William Yomby in the process. Speaking of the defense, Steve Birnbaum had a fine day for the Kickers. He was strong in bodying up opposing players, physical in the air, and had enough quickness to get back on defense to shut down counters. However, his passing leaves plenty to be desired at this point, with three or four errant passes in the first half, one of which lead to a Pittsburgh breakaway. He did look more solid in the second half, so improvement looks like it will come quickly.
The final Kickers goal came in stoppage time, with Christiano Francois playing a ball into Kyle Porter in the box. Porter looked like he had a shout for a penalty after being grabbed by a Riverhounds defender, but was able to muscle through the challenge and put another slow roller past the oncoming keeper.
Former Chicago Fire man Collins John scores the consolation goal for the Riverhounds, with the assist by former Kicker and D.C. United man Joseph Ngwenya. The last 15 minutes of the game featured from frantic defending for the Kickers, but they were able to see it out and pick up the win. The Kickers are next in action a week from today, when they visit the Charlotte Eagles.
Update: And for those who missed it, here is the highlight reel: