The Richmond Kickers fell to Crystal Palace FC 3-0 in front of 7851 fans, making it one of the most attended soccer matches in the history of Richmond. The Kickers were able to dominate possession for stretches of the game, but Crystal Palace used their obvious glut of talent to score whenever they had a chance. All three of their goals came off of headers, and two of those three came off of corner kicks. While the scoreline is not flattering, this was a worthy result for a third tier American team playing against a Premier League team, showing better than many of the MLS teams during this summer friendly season.
The two Kickers players who impressed me the most were Samuel Asante and Hugh Roberts, both new to the team this season. Asante made darting runs all over the field, often dispossessing Crystal Palace players and starting counter attacks. His distribution in the attack is also impressive, setting up Jason Yeisley for his late shot. Hugh Roberts played especially well in the first half, when he was in central defense. You can tell that he is comfortable with the ball at his feet, but he also won ever header that came his way. Roberts is in his first year out of George Mason University, and I could see him getting some looks with MLS clubs this offseason.
Jason Yeisley also had a great game, adding to a very solid season that he has put together. He was a pest to the Crystal Palace defense all night long, with good crosses and hold up play. His shot in the 80th minute that clipped off the post and his header in the 87th minute that went wide were two of the Kickers best chances of the entire night. Even though 2013 rookie of the year Nate Robinson is back and healthy, Yeisley has been rightly keeping him on the bench.
While I am normally against summer friendlies, this one made sense. It is capitalizing off of a large World Cup viewing audience in Richmond, and brought over three times the normal Kickers crowd to the stadium. If they are able to convert any of these fans to regular attendees, it will be an easy win for the team. The Kickers are back in action this Friday, when they take on the Wilmington Hammerheads in Wilmington.