The Richmond Kickers return to action hosting red hot South Georgia’s Tormenta FC. Can the home team respond from Week One’s disappointment?
The season began with a dream start. Two straight home wins to kick off USL League One. Attractive, attacking action. The issue? That’s this weekend’s visitor, Tormenta FC, not the Richmond Kickers. Last weekend, Richmond opened the new season but didn’t get started until the second half, by which time the match has been settled.
However, it is way too early to make any judgments on this team, especially negative ones. It’ll take time before we have a decent idea of the ideal formation and starting XI. Players will gain match fitness and we will see which ones best buy into Bulow’s system.
Saturday offers a chance to correct that first impression in USL League One. South Georgia Tormenta FC travel up to Richmond on the back of two opening victories against Greenville and Tucson. Four goals in two games, their attack is already up and running. But, the Kickers should be the beneficiary of this new opponent’s busy start to the season.
The Richmond View
Last Time Out: 3-2 loss to Lansing Ignite. (Check out the takeaways here)
1) A New Defense. Kickers fans left City Stadium last week with a familiar feeling from past season—defensive errors and giving up goals. But, how much of that was down to individual mistakes vs. the defensive scheme? How much was due to the fact that is was opening weekend, and the Kickers had a light preseason? Or, the fact that Lansing likely has one of the top pressing attacks in the league?
Regardless, Saturday is another chance for the team and the coaching staff to improve from that week one lesson. Exactly who is available remains up in the air, but Ivan Magalhaes needs to be one of the first names on the team sheet. He improved the backline and seemed to embrace the style of play Coach Bulow is looking for.
2) New Faces. As I mentioned in the Lansing takeaways piece, Richmond still has too many players expected to contribute, who didn’t suit up Week One, that have to be seen before we can give a fair estimate of the team. Do we get our first looks at Aboubacar Keita or Charles Boateng? Are defensive veterans Scott Thomsen and Braeden Troyer fit enough to appear in the 18? Expect a new starting XI against Tormenta.
3) Time To Put On A Show.
Richmond led the league in attendance for Week One. They should in Week Two as well. The support is strong in Richmond and has the capability to fill City Stadium to 9,000. Richmond is a soccer town—they just don’t all come out to watch the Kickers—yet. The River City Red Army was vocal throughout the 90 minutes and have even launched the Red Army Cadets, a youth supporter group, on the other end of the main stand.
Coach Bulow wants to possess the ball. Richmond wants to play attacking, attractive football. Tormenta will have a rotated squad. Saturday should be a chance to go all in on this new style of play.
Did you see the new murals at @CityStadium_RK last Saturday?!
— Richmond Kickers 🦘 (@RichmondKickers) April 3, 2019
Who you should know: Tormenta FC (2-0-0)
Alex Morrell. Two goals in two games and coming from only three shots. The Tormenta frontman has been efficient and will trouble the Richmond defense we saw in the first half week one. He won USL League One Goal of the Week for Week One, but most of that credit should go to…
Marco Micaletto. He was the one who picked up the ball in Tormenta’s defensive half, beat two defenders, speeding towards goal and setting up Morrell and the club’s first professional goal. Micaletto scored his first of the season in Wednesday’s win over FC Tucson, and will be the one Richmond need to shut down in order to limit Tormenta’s chances.
William Conner Antley. He didn’t even play Week One and he already has three assists. His star night against FC Tucson makes him a clear target for the defense—if he plays. Given the short turnaround of having to play three matches in just over a week, there will be heavy squad rotation when they visit Richmond.
— USL League One (@USLLeagueOne) April 4, 2019
Who, When & How
Richmond Kickers vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC
Saturday, 4/6, at 5 PM Eastern Time
Watch on ESPN+