Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Kickers 1-0 FMFC: Going Somewhere, But Nowhere to Be

I live in a fairly affluent west side suburb of Madison called Middleton, which brings me great pain to say as someone who grew up in the very blue collar North Side of Madison. Imagine me spitting every time I tell someone I live in (shudders, spits) …Middleton. I went to East High School, and after moving out of my folks’ house to find my way in the world, lived on the near east side (Jenifer St, right behind Star Liquor). I loved the close-knit feeling of the Willy Street neighborhood (even through the 4-5 day round the clock coke dance parties my neighbor put on his basement, or when his girlfriend rear-ended — a hit and run no less — and totalled my Dodge Neon). My favorite part of living in a more busy part of the city was being able to walk just about everywhere and get to where I was going without having to drive.

All that changed when my wife and I moved to Middleton to be close to her job, which was about a mile away from our new place. We had parks and walking paths nearby, and because it was a more commercial part of Middleton (warehouses, offices, etc.) the neighborhood was all but dead on the weekends. It was quiet. The main drawback (for me, anyway) of living on the edge a suburb is you can’t reach anywhere you need to go by walking. Even by bicycle we’re talking a 40 minute ride to Madison’s Capitol Square. Most days, driving is the only efficient way to get things done when time is at a premium.

The problem with driving in a suburb is other people. There’s something wired into the mentality of people born into privilege and wealth (of which there are MANY in Middleton), that they can just do what they want, the way they want to, without any regard for other people or their needs. It’s not just the slowness that irks me, or the hesitation, or the seeming need to slow to a crawl bordering on stopping completely just to make a right turn. Ultimately the irritation for me is that all of those things are done out of a lack of empathy or the ability to internalize that other people are also trying to get somewhere, and are being made to wait for them. There’s no urgency on their part. It’s like they’re all going somewhere but have nowhere to be.

I shout a lot when I’m driving in Middleton. I have a mouth like a sailor most days (ask my friends, coworkers, etc.) but it comes out especially when I’m behind the wheel of a car. Last night I noticed the similarities between my reactions to people on the roadway and my reactions/demeanor to watching football/soccer, especially on TV. I don’t have the luxury of attentively watching most home games at Breese because I’m usually drumming or doing any of the other myriad tasks that need to be done in an active supporter section. So for many FMFC fans watching along with me at a watch party, I’m sure the string of profanity leaving my body like some sort of guttural spontaneous holy language is a bit off-putting.

Strangely enough when I’m riding a motorcycle, I don’t feel the same level of stress, anxiety, or general misanthropy that I do enclosed in a car. My motorcycle has no signals, no gauges, no clock, not even a speedometer — I know how fast I’m going based on my engine’s sound and what gear I’m in. And while I might still be moving quickly from point A to point B, I’m not concerned about logistics or distractions, I’m just enjoying the experience (though still swearing under my breath, that never really changes). The difference is, on a motorcycle I’m not jaded, I’m not stressing about anything other than what’s right in front of me. It’s simple. It’s enjoyable. It’s fun.

It’s an analog for being at games, in person, where the experience is so much more visceral than watching on a screen — if I’m drumming, singing, waving a flag, I’m a part of the action and what’s going on, not managing my commute time or nervously watching the scoreboard clock. And while I care about the result, I’m more concerned about staying on beat with the other drummers and helping us be the best we can be as a section, to whip the crowd up so we can collectively lift the team.

Kickers 1-0 FMFC

It’s just my perception (which may be way off base), but this current FMFC team seems distracted and jaded. I hinted yesterday about the subject of collective efficacy, and the Richmond game was a great example of what seems like a lack of collective belief. The urgency that was there back in May seems lately to have all but evaporated. Last night when I saw flashes of creative, positive play lately from one player, it was all too often not reciprocated by the other guys on the pitch, almost as if they’re uninspired to play their part in taking charge to get a result. In order for this group to pick up their heads and keep pushing for results, they need that belief reignited and to find some inspiration once more. They don’t look like they’re having much fun.

The Lineup

There were multiple changes in the first XI from the last time we played Richmond, swapping Pato Diaz in for Gomez, Allen in for Keegan, and Gebhard pushed up front where Keegan usually plays in the 3-5-2 we’ve seen lately. Keegan came on for Perez after the interval, likely with idea the that we needed another attacking option.

Match Recap

I’m sure there’s a lot more nuance than I’m observing, but when a team has 62% of the possession and 0 shots on target, uninspired is the word I’d use to describe the performance. There were plenty of times last night where a Madison player would receive the ball, have 1-2 teammates around them just standing there, not making runs into space, not showing for passes, not giving direction or being helpful, and eventually they’d be dispossessed and Richmond would counter. The performance was listless. And if I have to see the ball being moved from the final third all the way back to the keeper instead of toward goal one more fucking time, my head might explode.

Richmond’s goal came in the 8th minute, golden boot leader Emiliano Terzaghi sneaking between Tobin and Rad and tapping in a a skittering cross from expert shithouser Chris Cole, who took home MOTM honors. Bolanos would have another shot on goal in the 63rd minute after being played into space, Breno making a diving save to push it away. Josiah Trimmingham would have the final effort for the Flamingos in the 86th, with a shot wide of the net.

This Team Has What it Takes

The most frustrating thing about this team’s run of form at the moment is they’re underachieving and underperforming. We’ve seen how good they can be, how much they fought for each other and the honor of representing Madison on the pitch, how inspired they were early this season to compete with the clubs currently atop the table. If they can’t simplify things, get back to basics and find the fun, they’re going to run out of runway. There’s still time, but they have to act, and soon.


  • 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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