The Harrisburg City Islander's game plan coming into this match seemed to be to use their speed to challenge the Richmond Kicker's defenders. And at times Sainey Touray and Aaron Wheeler were able to use that speed and create chances. However, the Richmond Kickers were able to control the majority of the possession to earn a well deserved 2-0 victory.
Due to injuries and D.C. United call-ups, the Kickers had to deviate from their typical 4-2-3-1 formation, opting for a 4-1-4-1 with Michael Seaton playing as the lone forward. And in the first half there was not yet a good rapport between the new central midfield pairing of Joseph Ngwenya and Stanley Nyazamba, with both getting in the other's way. The half was mostly a box to box affair, with only a few chances generated by each team.
The first ten minutes of the second half were all Harrisburg, whose speed finally came to bear and really put the Kickers on their heels. However, like they always do, the Kickers weathered that storm and had regained control by the 55th minute. Just five minutes later the Kickers capitalized on that possession to score the game's first goal. Nate Robinson ripped a shot low and to the far post after receiving the ball from Joseph Ngwenya; Nick Noble, the Harrisburg keeper, never had a chance to get it. The second goal came just six minutes later and was started this time by Nate Robinson. Brian Ownby did all of the hard work on the goal, chesting down the ball, holding off a defender as he made it to the endline, and then putting in the cross: all Michael Seaton had to do was tap the ball home for his second professional goal.
My first man of the match for this game has to be Brian Ownby. he seemed notably faster than previous games and was a part of almost ever meaningful attack that Richmond had the entire night. His speed allowed him to beat the Harrisburg defense to the end line and cross the ball or to cut in and take a shot. And, as I said, he did all of the hard work on Michael Seaton's goal.
However, just as important to this game as Ownby was Andrew Dykstra. Especially in the second half, after Michael Seaton's goal, he stood on his head, making a number of great saves and catches in traffic. His distribution was also particularly good tonight, with throws reaching the center circle and usually right in stride to the intended man.
Michael Seaton's game, despite the goal, was mostly uneven. In the first half he was easily pushed around by the Harrisburg defense, most notably Stephen Basson and Coady Andrews. His hold up play was not really there either and he spent most of the half up top on an island. In the second half he got more confidence and more into the game, especially after his goal, including a nice steal of the ball off the foot of a center back which led to a quick shot. Seaton continues to show flashes, but it will just take more game time to see him continue to improve.
As we all know, the Kickers are next in action this Tuesday against D.C. United in the third round of the US Open Cup. The Kickers are expecting around 5000 fans for the game, so I hope to see you here!