Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

FMFC 2-2 Tucson: The Bitter and the Sweet

Charlie Dennis 16′ (Pen)
Kevin Rodriguez 24′

Aaron Molloy 50′
Ryan Sierakowski 90′

In the autumn of 2018, Forward Madison FC was still known as Madison Pro Soccer and the club name, colors, crest hadn’t yet been revealed. I was part of a group with whom club President and owner Vern Stenman was occasionally sharing prospective crest designs, and I knew the colors were going to be based on the sky and white of the Madison city flag, navy blue, and as well as pink — but only if the main feature of the crest would be a flamingo, a nod to Madison’s official city bird.

When I saw Alex Perez‘s initial draft for what would evolve and become the official club badge, I told Vern, “This is it. This one. It’s not your usual soccer crest, but it has a historic and artistic feel without trying too hard.” I know I wasn’t the only one he was showing these designs for feedback, but I’m glad it won out in the end.

I knew the club colors would be that sky / white / navy / pink scheme a few weeks out from the November 18 reveal, and found it really interesting so few clubs wear pink — even mildly intermingled into their color scheme — so I started looking up other clubs who wore it. Palermo FC was one such club, but they didn’t start wearing pink until 7 years into their club’s history. Until 1907, Palermo wore red and blue. I remember reading a bit in Palermo’s club history that stuck with me but didn’t have much particular meaning until this season.

In a letter written in 1905 by prominent founding member Count Giuseppe Airoldi to Engishman and eventual club President, Joseph Whitaker, Airoldi stated pink and black poetically as “colours of the bitter and the sweet”, and how they’d be suited for a team characterized by “results alternating like a Swiss clock.” He also mentioned that red & blue were common colors worn by other clubs and the new colors would set Palermo apart from their peers. Funny, the parallels with FMFC picking unique imagery and colors to set themselves apart. Also a bit coincidental that Palermo also find themselves in the 3rd division, Italy’s Serie C.

The “bitter and the sweet” line combined with the quote about results being all over the place really does fit with the way this Madison team has performed over the past three seasons, and especially this season.

FMFC 2-2 Tucson

The Flamingos’ playoff chances evaporated last night after a valiant effort in Madison ended in a draw. I have to admit I was a bit nervous going into this one, this Madison team being one of the most inconsistent scoring teams in the league (though not for lack of trying in many games) and Tucson averaging a goal every 60 minutes. This was a crucial game for Tucson’s playoff chances as well, and the point they picked up at Breese brings them level on points with Revs II, separated in the table to 7th, but only by number of wins.

Kyle and I watched most of this game on my phone at the reception of our good friends Jake and Katie’s wedding, and had totally forgotten the camera had been moved to the Mifflin side of Breese. Talking with FMFC COO and owner Conor Caloia midweek, he indicated that the new camera placement was a test run, and the intention overall was to offer better camera angles to people watching the stream. The video board on the front of the press box creates a little bit of a distraction at times, washing out the play directly in front of it. However, being that the high percentage of the season will have far more daylight well into the running time of the match, I don’t think it’ll be that big a concern overall.

I quite like the new camera placement, as it feels more expansive and much less claustrophobic when the ball moves up the near touchline. My only gripe now being that you can’t actually see the near touchline. Being that I watch most games from the Flock End, I’m not that bothered, but I can imagine it will bug people who support the club from afar or can’t make it to Breese. Maybe they can raise the platform up or put the camera on a boom.

A Game of Two Halves

Advantage Tucson

Tucson’s first goal was the result of a converted penalty in the 15th minute. The run of play was worked from the back, dribbled by Charlie Dennis through the middle third, and then laid off to Kevin Rodr√≠guez who was making an overlapping run. Rodriguez dribbles in toward the left side of the 6 yard box and appears to be taken down by Leonard.

I’ve watched the slowed down replay multiple times now and I’m actually not even sure Leonard made contact with the ball or Rodriguez. It looked very slight if there was any contact made at all. It was a bit unlucky, but the referee is going to point to the spot 9/10 times unless the ball changes direction before the attacker goes down.

Charlie Dennis stepped up to take the penalty and converted, beating Breno straight down the middle. Penalties are hard for even the best keepers to save, and it certainly didn’t help going into it that the foul called was iffy at best. Dennis celebrated like he’d never scored a goal in his entire life, kissing his hands and throwing his arms in the air, like some sort of opera singer being tossed flowers after an opening night performance. The histrionics were entertaining, if not a bit surreal.

Tucson’s 2nd came just inside the 24th minute; a well-worked goal started as a pass from the middle third — a deeper-lying Calixtro found Charlie Dennis again, who played a pass through to Rodriguez who was able to shake Cyrus Rad and beat Breno for the finish. Madison’s back line was largely out of position for this goal, Tobin man marking Calixtro on the throw-in near the halfway line and Leonard trying to unsuccessfully tackle Dennis in the middle of the park left Rad as the last man. Even Tyler Allen’s sprinting heroics couldn’t mount a quick enough challenge, leaving Breno 1-1 with Rodriguez. You can’t really fault Breno here as the back line was disorganized, and Tucson made the most of it.

Madison’s Comeback

Trimmingham would have an attempt on goal in the 32nd, which was saved by Lapsley. The game went into the interval 2-0, and credit to the boys for not letting their heads drop. They came out guns blazing and Aaron Molloy would put one home in the 50th minute after a series of passes found him largely unmarked at the top of the box. Madison would have a near goal in the 78th minute when an Audi Jepson cross found the head of Ryan Sierakowski, but it was not to be, going just wide of the post.

Three minutes into the four minutes of added time, Madison’s equalizer was the result of a play off a corner originally cleared and played back into the area by Eric Leonard. Jepson picked up the ball near the right side of the 6 yard box and played a square pass across the mouth of goal. It’s hard to make out exactly what happened, but it looks as if Tobin puts it off the keeper and Sierakowski taps in the rebound.

Another similar scramble in front of Tucson’s goal came in the 95th minute, but as the last Madison shot was deflected the referee blew for full time. It was a courageous effort, and it’s hard to not draw some parallels with Madison’s season overall: drama at the death, but just not enough in the end to keep our playoff chances alive. We go into the last game of our season vs a very good Chattanooga side this coming Saturday, in a game that could give them a playoff match at home. You can bet they’ll be up for it, and for our fans’ sake I hope our guys will be as well — given the past 3 games’ urgency and that we’re finally scoring goals, it’s looking to be a cracker of a match.


  • 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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