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

FMFC 0-1 Fuego: Washed Out

Note: Patreon subscribers ($5/mo) have access to the full post-match interview audio, including quotes from Jeremiah Streng and Coach Glaeser not included in this article.

Good Sunday to you all, Andrew here with a slightly different (than usual, anyway) recap of the Fuego match. There won’t be a full breakdown of the game this week, and while I could go full-on, “the sky is falling,” pointing out our dead last position in the league table with only 3 points from 4 games, our persistent flaccidity in front of goal, and mistakes – all the causal factors of FMFC-induced ulcers these past 3 seasons — I’m not going to. It’s only been 4 games and only 4 points separates us from the league leaders. The first loss of the season came on the back of injuries to many important players, including leaders and talents like AWO and Derek Gebhard. It’s been a rough go this early part of the season, as yet again we had late-arriving players lacking match fitness who you’d expect to be in the starting XI and important players like Cassini and Conner slowly coming back from injuries.

Match Recap

The game was largely end to end and understandably sloppy with the driving wind and rains, the latter of which thankfully didn’t persist the entire game. Abdou Mbacke Thiam came off injured in the 33rd from a collision with the advertising hoardings in the 30th minute, an injury which we’re told will be diagnosed more carefully tomorrow. If Abdou is out for any length of time, Glaeser might have to think about bringing in a signing to shore up the attacking options. Arguably Madison’s best chance of the first half was a Murillo-headed cross late in the 37th minute, which was parried away by the Fresno keeper.

The sole goal of the game came from a mistake by Phil Breno, who well off his line in the 54th minute, decides to have a touch with the bottom of his right boot instead of collecting the ball, or simply clearing the ball — and initially it looked inoccuous when on-rushing Fuego striker Vilyan Bijev was denied, but only for a moment as Jesus Partida collected Breno’s heavy touch and bent it around the left of Breno (still 25 yards out) and slowly skipped into the back of the net. It’s a gaffe Phil won’t soon forget and I’m sure he’s been beating himself up about it. Let’s hope he’s worked this type of mistake out for good, and early in the season. When asked, Coach Glaeser had this to say about the goal and his defense’s performance:

“Look, in the pressing I thought we did a good job. I thought we limited their opportunities. We made some silly fouls and gave up some set piece opportunities but we handled that better. And then we just made a mistake that I’ve never seen in a professional soccer game before so… Yeah, we learn from it and try to stay positive.”

– Coach Matt Glaeser

Streng had a penalty shout in the 60th minute, but it looked to me in person and upon rewatch the tackle got the ball first, a decision referee Jervis Atagana got right, this game a far cry from the card-fest MNUFC Open Cup game he officiated just a fortnight ago. Christian Enriquez would attempt a direct free kick in the 87th minute which went wide left of frame, another in the night’s bevy of set pieces from both sides either malattempted or ruined by the wind. Madison would attempt 2 more corners, both of which were met by Fuego players and cleared from danger. Atagana let the game play well into the 98th minute, which was still not enough time for Madison to find an equalizer.

The Flamingos’ passing was clinical yet again, 83% on the night — a stat in stark contrast to the number of shots (12) and shots on target (0). Multiple times we’ve needed someone to crash the box on crosses and set pieces, to try to beat the keeper or defenders on the goal line. We’ve had to sort out defensive issues on set pieces, maybe now it’s time to drill everyone on playing aggresively on corners and free kicks. We chatted with Jeremiah Streng after the game, and he attributed the frustrating lack of goals to a lack of team cohesion:

“It’s frustrating for us to not get opportunities to score, and we need opportunities in front of goal to score goals. We need to get to know each other better as players, play together, know each other. I think it’ll come with time, I hope so at least. We have to keep working on it. I hope now that we have all the guys in, that we can find that squad — that eleven that play best together. And after that we will of course get points. Because we play well — we’ve played well in all the games — but we just need that extra chemistry to score goals.”

– FMFC striker Jeremiah Streng

This is a crucial time for the squad and the coaching staff as they try to grab ultra-valuable, confidence-inspiring points — The next 2 weeks they’ll travel to league leaders Richmond and then to Greenville, both of which will not be easy games. Streng pointed out multiple times that the team still hasn’t solidified yet, and still have a lot of learning and understanding to do about each others’ patterns and mechanisms. In a game as creative a dance as football, he’s spot on — let’s hope it doesn’t take too much longer. And some of our chances this last game were quite close, we just need that extra bit of pace on runs, oomph on shots, and for fuck’s sake — some aggression in front of goal, especially on set pieces.

Matt and his staff still have time, and plenty of games left in the season to find a playoffs-worthy run of form. Hopefully the injuries can be a silver lining in allowing developing talent to step up in a big way, Mikey Maldonado a good example of a player deployed to fill a role as deputy for AWO in this last match. Glaeser commented after the game on his performance:

“I thought he did okay, I thought he struggled the first 30 minutes and then he got much better. It’ a different role for him that we asked of him. Because of the way the opposition play, we wanted to press a little bit differently.”

– FMFC Coach Matt Glaeser

Right then, I’ve been working most of the day and then writing this, I’m going to have a bourbon and then a good Sunday night sleep before what’s going to be a long week of work. I love my day job, but after being off for 2 weeks I’m anticipating a full day of playing catch-up before presenting to 1800 customer representatives tomorrow evening. Dennis Bergkamp, give me strength.


  • 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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