Sunday, July 14, 2024
Sunday, July 14, 2024

Kickers Preview: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards

It’s another Henny Derby matchup and one for the ages. Or at least until the next time we play Richmond in 10 days. And while I’m starting to feel a bit like Phil Connors with these repetitive matchups with Revs 2 and Kickers, it gives the boys a chance to learn their opponent an hopefully unlock a modicum of success on the road. At this juncture every single point is crucial, especially for a team with just one away win this season. I have to admit, a long stretch of away games in the final month of the season definitely makes momentum difficult for fans, but if the squad can capitalize and truly mount a playoff push, Breese will be rocking on the 23rd and 30th.

Terrorzaghi

Emiliano Terzaghi is a name every fan of a USL1 club knows and reveres, mostly for his killer instinct in front of goal. He’s without a doubt the Kickers’ number one goal-scoring threat, the current USL1 golden boot candidate at 14 goals, and someone Carl Craig will likely be looking to shut out of the game. Last time we played Richmond was home at Breese, with effectively the same back line of Leonard – Tobin – Rad we’ve seen in recent matches.

Breno took home MOTM plaudits that game, with 6 huge saves, 3 of which were diving, including a double-save resulting from shots from Bryant and Terzaghi. Phil proved his mettle that night, but I’m sure would rather have an easier shift at City Stadium. And while Terzaghi was limited to 3 shots in the previous fixture, the Flamingos’ back line allowed 15 shots, nearly double our tally of 8 on the other end of the pitch. Sawatzky is a smart manager (and quite possibly….inevitable), and it’s likely if Madison’s back line isolates Terzaghi, he’ll push the ball out wide to the wings in the form of Bolduc and Bolanos, both of whom are not afraid to shoot from distance.

A Bit of a Bastard

Having seen Terzaghi play live, he’s also a mean bastard with a playing style that constantly edges on the cynical. While some might disagree with it, I subscribe to the idea that every great team’s got to have a player who’s a bit of a wind-up artist, someone who isn’t afraid to get into the opposition players’ heads, leave a hand/elbow/knee in after a challenge or tackle, etc. Terzaghi is most certainly that type of player for Richmond. Cooler heads will need to prevail among the FMFC squad with what certainly will be a war of attrition on Wednesday, if the end of the game back in September was any indication.

Terzaghi obviously doesn’t have being a bastard cornered, as you can clearly see from the footage of the last time these two clubs met. It would appear Chris Cole (number 3) is also well-versed in the practice of shithousery. The 2nd video shows an extremely obvious push on the touchline shoving Gebhard into the ad board. There’s an argument there for drawing the line between gamesmanship and dangerous play. As someone who’s watched a similar dirty tackle live and have the resulting injury debilitate a player’s career trajectory, Cole was not only lucky to escape a red card for violent conduct, he could have seriously injured Gebhard. I enjoy a physical match, but not to the point where someone’s physical well-being is threatened. That said, I hope Chris Cole gets a right fucking clattering on Wednesday — within the rules of the game, that is 😉

Playoff Battle

I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this game is hugely, hugely important to both teams’ playoff chances. Madison have a game in hand on the Kickers, and if they’re the victors on Wednesday will still be a point off that 6th place playoff spot. I’m not going to spend the time on some elaborate probability model for the remaining weeks’ matchups and playoff spots, because honestly it’s entirely theoretical and only going to cement the encroaching feeling of existential dread.

the natural state of a football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what the score.

Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch

I’m a miserable sports fan and an even worse, nervous football/soccer fan. I need to be in the moment if I’m to enjoy it at all. Knowing the possibility or probability of the season being done based on projections based on past stats is only going to amplify that agony. I’d rather leave a bit of the romance alive for the rest of the season, and not obsess more than I already do about every errant pass or skied sitter. One game at a time is how I have to take it, it’s how I keep hope alive.

Flamingo Firepower

This Madison team has had some brilliant moments this season. Some that come to mind for me are that sublime first touch off the inside of Derek Gebhard’s right foot vs Fort Lauderdale (more on that in a forthcoming post), to Breno’s aforementioned performance vs Kickers, and Rad’s pinpoint cross for Ryan Sierakowski’s finish to get his first FMFC goal on his debut in front of the Flock End (see below).

This is a band of talented footballers, who for whatever reason haven’t found their stride as a team.

Despite my manic tendencies as a fan, this is a game. It’s supposed to be fun, not all battling all the time but actual fun for the players, and I have to think the pressure to perform — nay, to win — weighs heavily on these guys. In the midst of the battle, they’ve got to be able to have a least a little bit of a good time, but that enjoyment has to be earned. Games, and sport in general isn’t fun when you’re not winning, and unfortunately that’s the catch.

Get the win, regain some hope & confidence, regain the fun. Now that’s simple math.

Author

  • Andrew Schmidt

    Eclecticist, FMFC supporter, Flock co-founder, designer of things, and taker of photos. Writer, wrench, motorcyclist. Pro-intellectualist, anti-pedant. Drinker of coffee and greeter of dogs.

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