The Richmond Kickers start off their 21st season tonight at 7:00 pm against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The Kickers got off to a very slow start last season, one which left the team struggling to catch up the entire season. While they finished fourth overall, that was their worst performance in years and they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. A renewed commitment to mental focus, when added to the six MLS players on loan and others with MLS experience, paint a bright picture this season for the Kickers.
USL Pro as a whole is also getting stronger by the minute. Besides the MLS affiliation, there are two new expansion teams this year, Phoenix FC and VSI Tampa Bay, with at least one more coming next year in Sacramento. So join me to watch these young D.C. United players develop; who knows, we may see them in RFK sooner than we think.
Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: City Stadium, Richmond, Va.
Streaming: All USL Pro games, including Kickers games for the first time, are available for free at uslnation.com. Games are also available on demand.
Projected Richmond Kickers lineup: I expect that at least three of the five D.C. United players on loan to the Richmond Kickers will get the start tonight, and probably four of the five (Michael Seaton is with the Jamaica U-17 team). Andrew Dykstra will likely start in goal, as the Kickers other two keepers are completely untested after the retirement of club legend Ronnie Pascale; Dykstra led the Charleston Battery to the USL Pro championship last season. The back line will likely include Taylor Kemp, William Yomby, Henry Kalungi, and Juan Arbelaez. The midfield will likely feature Houston Dynamo loanee Brian Ownby, Conor Shanosky, Stanley Nyazamba, and player/coach Sascha Goerres. Casey Townsend and Jason Yeisley will fill out the starting XI.
Prediction: A reinvigorated Kickers lineup flush with MLS talent against the second worst team from last year? Give me 2-0 for the Kickers.
What are you drinking? I won't be drinking, as I will be up in the press box (giving you my best Bodkin action), but you should come out to the game because, for the first time ever, the Richmond Kickers will sell beer at the stadium. Appropriate, as this is their 21st season.
Get in with your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.