Richmond Kickers: Match #1 vs. Lansing Ignite FC

The Richmond Kickers begin the next chapter in their long history as they launch USL League one against Lansing Ignite FC.

After difficult campaigns in 2017 and 2018, the Richmond Kickers are ready for a fresh start. New owners, a mostly new squad, a head coach starting his first full season with the team, and a brand new league. Richmond will host Lansing Ignite FC, formerly Lansing United from the USL PDL and NPSL. The club has an affiliation with MLS’ Chicago Fire and has signed Alex Bruce on loan from San Antonio, where he scored 13 goals last season in USL.

The Richmond View

Just five of the 24 players on the opening day roster have played for Richmond heading into 2019. Three of those—Braeden Troyer, Conor Shanosky, and Scott Thomsen—anchor a backline that the team will likely rely heavily on to start the season. Of the numerous new names to Kickers fans, Akira Fitzgerald, Aboubacar Keita (on loan from the Columbus Crew), and Daniel Jackson are three to look out for in the early stages of the campaign.

While the product on the field might be new, the support surely won’t be. Richmond enters the season with a strong, established fan base. The Kickers averaged over 4,800 in attendance in 2018. With City Stadium the long term home for Richmond, and renovations planned in the years ahead, the club could eclipse 5k in 2019 and lead League One—which is where coach David Bulow’s attacking football and a re-introduction of wins at home will play key roles.

Who you should know: Lansing Ignite FC (0-0-0)

Steeve Saint-Duc: The 19-year-old attacker from Haiti will be the goal threat most concerning for the Richmond backline. Typically out on the right wing, Saint-Duc is able to play up top or in the #10 spot. He took home the MVP award at the 2016 Caribbean Football Union’s U-17 Championship which earned him a look by LAFC during their MLS expansion campaign. The Kickers experienced backline and keeper will an early season test with this Golden Boot contender.

Nick Moon: Starting XI’s on opening day for a new club in a new league leave a lot of unpredictability. However, BGN’s own has already spotted Nick Moon as one to watch in Lansing’s setup. Speed and versatility make Moon a likely bet for Lansing’s debut match, who could see multiple positions Saturday night.

Who, When & How

Richmond Kickers vs. Lansing Ignite FC

Saturday, 3/30, at 5 PM Eastern Time

Watch on ESPN+

Nathan Reynolds

Writer covering the Richmond Kickers in USL League One. Experience as a WordPress developer, editor, podcaster, and writer for European and US soccer leagues.