The Richmond Kickers started their season last night against their old foe, the Charleston Battery. And while the team was often sloppy with their passes, and not yet on the same page throughout the team, they did score two goals to draw with the Battery 2-2. They had a chance to win the game late, but Matthew Delicate headed the ball off of the underside of the bar, a shot that he scores 90 percent of the time.
Leigh Cowlishaw put out his regular 4-2-3-1, but with Mike Callahan and Samuel Asante starting in central midfield. Luke Vercollone, used last year primarily as a central midfielder, was nominally the wide right midfielder, but he pinched in most of the game; Alex Lee asked to provide width on the right side.
Collin Martin played the assist on the first goal, and it was a thing of beauty. Alex Lee collected the ball from the Battery on the right side, and got the ball eventually to Martin, who had pulled wide to the sideline. Martin then placed a perfect pass thirty yards and past two Battery players to hit George Davis IV in stride, who just had to calmly place the ball past the goalkeeper. His first touch kept the ball directly on his foot, and he was able to float wide and put in a number of nice crosses.
Martin also got the assist on the second goal, which George Davis IV again scored. Martin took a corner kick, which was cleared to just outside of the 18 yard box. Mike Callahan collected the ball and got it back to Martin, whose cross into the box found Davis IV's head and then the back of the net.
Michael Seaton's hold-up play stood out tonight; unlike at the beginning of last season, Seaton looked strong and was able to knock the ball down and get it to his teammates. He also made some good runs, but didn't receive the ball in time to capitalize on them. Even though he was taken out in the 68th minute, I'm not worried about Seaton: his goals will come.
Joe Willis, however, did not have a good night. He may have been able to do better on the first goal, but I don't put too much blame for that on him. However, throughout the night he was weak on free kicks, often getting lost in traffic and missing the ball when coming off his line. This directly led to the second Battery goal, which was off of a free kick that Willis could not get it; it was headed past him as he was outside of the six yard box. These games may be what Joe Willis needs to improve on free kicks and to try and regain his spot as D.C. United's second goalkeeper.
The Richmond Kickers have their first home game next weekend, when they host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Update: And here is the highlight package, in which you can see Collin Martin's great first assist starting at around 0:55.