Richmond Faces Uncertainty

Kickers lose 2 players to Pittsburgh as they wait for DC United to make moves
by Brett Rorie   |   Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Red RVA – column on Richmond Kickers & the Richmond Virginia area soccer scene.

The Richmond Kickers has seen the good side of the USL PRO-MLS partnership with the additions of D.C. United players Michael Seaton, Conor Shanosky and Andrew Dykstra. However, the Kickers might be losing a player because of this as well.

The Houston Dynamo have reached an agreement with USL side Pittsburgh Riverhounds that makes the Riverhounds the Dynamo's reserve team. The result of this could be the end of Brian Ownby's run as a Kicker. While Ownby did play for Richmond last season, he is under contract with the Houston Dynamo and if he is loaned to a USL team, it would most likely be Pittsburgh.

This is a big loss for the Kickers, The 23-year old ranked second in both goals and assists last season for Richmond. Along with the skill on the field, Ownby was able to bring a consistent healthy player in the lineup, as he appeared in 19 of the Kickers 25 games last season.

Ownby will not be the only former Kicker that could see time with the Riverhounds. The Kickers leading goal-scorer Joseph Ngwenya has signed a contract with Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

The Zimbabwe midfielder saw his career resurrected during his 1 season with the Kickers. After not playing for a team in the 2012 season, Nwgenya scored a team-high 9 goals with the Kickers. These 2 moves now leave the Kickers without its two top goal-scorers from last season.

What will Richmond do to fix the problem?

With the season still months away, the Kickers still have time to make moves to bolster the forward position for next year’s team. For now, let's say the kickers stay as is. The only forwards they have on roster are Jason Yeisley and David Bulow, who scored a combined 2 goals in 20 games. Probably not what they want from that position.

The interesting factor in all of this is who Richmond will get from D.C. United. In this offseason, United has picked up forward Eddie Johnson, and selected veteran forward Fabian Espindola in the MLS Re-Entry Draft. Along with this, D.C. United could also select Maryland forward Patrick Mullins with the 1st pick in the MLS SuperDraft.

This would leave United need at forward filled, so this could lead to more Michael Seaton and Casey Townsend in Richmond. Both have seen time in the MLS, but probably would not see much time if they stayed with D.C. United this season. Townsend and Seaton were able to put up 7 goals in 19 games, so it would obviously be an upgrade. It will be very important to see how the Kickers respond to these loses of Ownby and Ngwenya.

If that wasn’t enough uncertainty to pile on Richmond, last season’s USL Rookie of the year Nate Robinson recently tore his ACL while training with a team in Finland. While it's unsure how long the midfielder could be out, the Richmond Kickers in a tweet a week ago said that Robinson is already 3 weeks ahead of schedule in his recovery.

Robinson appeared in 25 of the Kickers 26 game last season. In those 25 games, Robinson had 4 goals and 6 assists. 

Brett RORIE

Nationality:
USA
College:
Univ. of Arkansas
Club Domestic:
DCU, Richmond Kickers, SBFC
Club Foreign:
Arsenal, BVB
USMNT fan by birth, D.C. United fan by way of Eddie Pope and Macro Etcheverry and the rest of Brett's fandom is just by accident. Born and raised in the small town of Flippin, Ark.
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