Playing three games in six days is never easy, and doubly so when the games take place 3000 miles from your home stadium. But that is what the Richmond Kickers will do, playing the Phoenix FC Wolves tonight, the Los Angeles Blues on Sunday, and the Vancouver Whitecaps Reserves on Tuesday. They will have to do so without their leading goalscorer, Joseph Ngwenya, who is injured and did not make the trip.
The loss of Ngwenya, however, will provide even more of a chance that the newest D.C. United loanee will get time (and perhaps even start) in these games. Collin Martin has been loaned to the Kickers for this road trip and, with Ngwenya's injury, will be immediately competing with Joseph Haboush for the backup attacking midfielder role behind Stanley Nyazamba. Nyazamba is unlikely to start all three games, and so Martin could very will get his first professional start mere weeks after being signed.
Venue: Sun Devil Soccer Stadium, Tempe, Arizona
Streaming: This game, as with all others, is streamed on uslnation.com
Projected Lineup: I will go with Ryan Jones in goal, with Alex Lee, William Yomby, Conor Shanosky, and Sascha Goerres in front of him. Mike Callahan and Luke Vercollone will be at defensive midfield, with Brian Ownby, Stanley Nyazamba, and Nate Robinson in attacking midfield. If he is healthy, Michael Seaton will start at forward; if not, look for Jason Yeisley.
Prediction: The Kickers should come away with this game a jump over Orlando City into first place. I think a 2-0 win would be appropriate.
What are you drinking? Richmond's own Legend Brown Ale, from the oldest of the microbreweries here in town.
As always, this is your place for your pre-game, in-game, and post-game chatter.