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

Fuego Preview: Back to Business

Good Friday morning all, Andrew and Kyle here with a recap of the week’s news and a preview of Saturday’s matchup vs Central Valley Fuego. As I (Andrew) sat on the veranda for one last morning in Ambergris Caye, a realization hit me. I’m incredibly blessed and grateful for the past nearly two weeks on this island, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I was able to be on vacation somewhere for more than a few days and not feel like I had to be moving non-stop.

I’m a workaholic, a trait I surely inherited from my dad, which most definitely translates into everything I do — and being on holiday, in a place I’ve never been, I tend to feel like, “I’ve come all this way and I can’t just sit around.” But sometimes that’s the point — it’s why we made no agenda before this trip — the past 6 months have been a grind, with longer hours at work and a winter more gray than any in recent memory. I needed a recharge, and coming back from 2 weeks off feeling like I needed time to then recover from the trip? Not on the cards.

And while I did awake the 3rd morning here at 5 AM, cold sweat and anxious about not having checked in with my team at work, miraculously the dread slowly faded and I was able to spend the rest of my trip actually relaxing.

R&R looks different here depending on the day, whether it be lying poolside soaking up the sun, careening down Middle Street hauling hitchhikers on a jangly rented golf cart in San Pedro Town, sipping a panty ripper in a salt-bleached hole in the wall listening to shrimp skewers sizzle whilst waiting for tacos, or floating near effortlessly next to a half-submerged picnic table over the white sands of Secret Beach. One thing is for certain: relaxation is only temporary, and starting today it’s back to business. And while I’ll miss Belize there’s a part of me incredibly driven to create, to focus on challenging work, to solve difficult problems alongside talented people. I’ll return from this trip recharged and ready to go — relishing what awaits.

Surely this feeling isn’t isolated to me returning from holiday. Glaeser and his men will likely feel similar, having played their last competitive match a fortnight ago vs MNUFC in the Open Cup. And while some lingering effects from that game will likely affect the lineup, we also will see some newer faces get minutes in a game which is an opportunity for the club to make a real statement in regard to this league campaign. Fresno is not to brush off as a new team to the league, they’ve already proven on many occasions their goal-scoring ability, and arrive as a rebirth of a very well-supported club some years back. One must assume they’ll see a resurgence of fan presence, though I’d doubt we’ll see much in the way of travelling fans at Breese this weekend (if any).

News Roundup

As reported by Rob Chappell on this week’s episode of Talkin’ Flock, both Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu and Derek Gebhard were seen in walking boots on the sidelines at last weekend’s friendly vs the Badger men’s team. We’ve yet to receive any official status updates as to the extent of those injuries, though both were seen without a walking boot in the club’s Mingo Prime Day festivities. Hopefully this means just slight knocks (especially for AWO, that challenge looked bad). Cyrus Rad is unavailable as he’s serving a suspension after his 2nd yellow at Tucson, though one would imagine we’ll see Mélé in that back line now that he’s match fit. Veteran Alvin Jones is also available for the first time this season for league play, a welcome addition as we’ve sorely lacked sharpness in the final third.

If you haven’t yet perused the interviews we did with Mitch Osmond, Carl Schneider and Drew Conner, or FMFC alum Noah Fuson, they’re great reads and give you a look into these guys’ minds and lives and what they’re about beyond just being athletes. Personally I (Andrew) enjoy connecting with these guys as human beings, and it makes supporting them all the better on matchdays because you understand them more as people and not just someone who can kick a ball better than most.

Fuego Preview

Central Valley Fuego is one of the two new clubs to join USL1 and bring professional soccer back to Fresno California. The team has started the season well with a 2-1 win in their first game on the road against Greenville while being involved for game of the season in a 3-3 draw on the road against Charlotte where the battled back twice to equalize in the USOC, they won their first match with a 4-1 win against USL Championship side El Paso Locomotive before losing in the final minute on a penalty to Sacramento Republic. Fuego last match was a 3-0 loss on the road to Union Omaha which also saw their left back Sergio Chavez get a red card and will cause him to miss this match.

Fuego plans to bring a style of play that will rely on ball movement and passing and is a team that will capitalize on mistakes their opposition make. Their star player is attacker Vilyan Bijev who had previously played in OKC Energy and Sacramento Republic. The Bulgarian has scored four goals this season and with his ability to play out on the left along with central will provide the role of creator and finisher. Fuego struggled with Omaha’s physicality last week which led to them losing more of their composure as the match went on. Fuego also wants to have plenty of possession, they haven’t necessarily been able to create too many dangerous chances. Forward has done a good job of limiting clear cut chances when they have 11 on the field and if they can clean up the set piece defending, can relish some chances of playing in front of The Flock.

FMFC and Fuego Form via Fotmob

We’re reaching the point in the season when we expect to see more pitch-level productivity and leadership emerge, and this game vs an attacking-minded team like Fuego will be arguably one of the most stern tasks this Madison side has faced. While it’s true defense wins championships, this is a team we’ve been assured would focus on attacking with intention and style, and play aggressively. While the play certainly was aggressive vs Tucson and MNUFC, it was a bit reckless and in Tucson especially it cost us a result. There’s a balance to be struck there, something Glaeser and the technical staff will certainly have been repeating the past 10 days during video review and team talks.

Defense may win championships, but goals win games – and that elusive first league win is something this Madison team would do well to capture this weekend. Everything crossed the Pink & Blue can step up on Saturday and reciprocate the energy and effort the fans put in every game. 4 years is a long time to wait for a goalscorer who can consistently produce, and it’s time we had a hero whose name can be rightly sung from the terraces.


  • 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.


  • Kyle Carr

    Capo, light gamer, podcaster and super amateur baker. All that plus some other stuff


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