Forward Madison and Richmond Kickers are kicking off their 3-match series this evening at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, Wisconsin. I spoke to Nathan Reynolds about Richmond Kickers. This is part 2 of 2 of our discussion. You can find part 1 of 2 by clicking here.
Q: For Forward Madison fans who haven’t been following each team as closely, can you give us a summary of how the season has been so far for Richmond Kickers?
NR: The fresh start that 2019 brought about hasn’t fully come to fruition – yet. At the start of the season, the club had a few great defensive games in a row and it looked like that would be the model. Defense and possession. But then a series of bad breaks, defensive errors, and a long goal-scoring drought dragged the team down into the bottom of the table. The wins over OCB and TFCII have definitely provided a much-needed boost.
Q: Richmond and Forward Madison share similar victories as of late over Orlando City B and Toronto FC II. How confident do you think players will be heading into this match. Has Richmond’s coach weighed in on what he expects out of this match?
NR: Confidence will be the highest since the early season run of points. However, being on the road and how the table looks, Richmond will know they are the underdog in this particular match.
Q: What would you say is the biggest strength at the moment for the club that has helped them win the last two matches?
NR: A change in formation and lineup. Braeden Troyer has come in the last two matches for captain Maxi Rodriguez and excelled in front of the backline. Meanwhile, shifting Matt Bolduc and Mutaya Mwape inside and playing more direct, has offered the team more chances.
Q: Forward Madison has had some success with serving balls into the box off crosses, describe how Richmond’s goalkeeper (Fitzgerald) has fared against clubs with similar offensive plans?
NR: Overall, Akira Fitzgerald has been a great addition for the club as they started life in USL League One. He ranks 4th in the league in saves, but at 5’11” high crosses into the box isn’t a bad strategy at the start of the match to see how both sides settle in.
Q: What have been the key differences between Richmond’s season in the United Soccer League (2018) and USL League One (2019)? Do you anticipate Richmond making a late-season run at the table for a playoff spot?
NR: What’s not new. New owners. First full year for the head coach. New league. New opponents (for the most part). Almost an entirely new roster. But the biggest difference going into the season and even now after a tough summer is being competitive. 2017 and 2018 were very difficult as the USL continued to spend more each season. If Richmond continues with their recent formation and focus on pushing the ball forward quicker, rather than possession around the back, then yes, I think they can still push for the playoffs.