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

Greenville Preview: Triskaidekaphobia

Good morning all, Andrew and Kyle here to round up the week’s FMFC news and preview tonight’s matchup vs Greenville. It’s Friday the 13th, which may be a bad omen for some, but we here at NDZ embrace the weird, the unusual, and that which is embued by dark and strange energy. The number 13 is characterized in Western lore as “unlucky,” and its association with misfortune originates all the way back in Norse mythology. 12 Norse gods are partying in Valhalla, and then Loki shows up (as an uninvited 13th guest) and tricks Odin’s blind son Hodr to shoot Baldr with a mistletoe-tipped arrow (Baldr is immune to everything but Mistletoe). Baldr dies, and the Earth is sad, the number is forever considered unlucky.

Now, I (Andrew) am not one for superstition, though I do think that it’s possible to give power and credence to things, especially tradition – and Madison has a bit of a tradition built up with Greenville: we’ve never beat them. The longer a tradition continues, the harder it can be to break. Of the seven times we’ve played Greenville, they have been the victors twice and the sides have drawn five times. However, this is the first Madison side to play Greenville with by and large a totally different team than in past encounters. The clubs have seen players move in both directions, with Don Smart and Jake Keegan swapping last season, and Keegan returning to Greenville for 2022 only to see Cesar Murillo move in the opposite direction. Murillo has been a good pickup thus far for the Flamingos, while Keegan struggled to produce after the first handful of games in 2021.

This Madison team is quite different than past seasons, but still needs to break out of what feels like some sort of anti-goal-scoring curse. I actually think it’s simpler than that. I think our issue is confidence, a lack of swagger in front of goal. I mentioned in my recap of the Richmond game that the most productive play in the final third came from players breaking lines as well as taking chances by running at defenders. Sukow can do that, Drew Conner as well, and let’s not forget about the talismanic Derek Gebhard. Phil Breno mentioned on the most recent episode of Talkin’ Flock that he believes this Madison team, player-for-player, is among the best, if not the best team in the league. That may be true, but a football team and results is like a cooking a meal: you can have the best possible recipes and ingredients in the world, but if the balance is off, the whole thing can be subpar, if not terrible. We need a balance of risk-taking and pragmatism, of style and substance – or we won’t unlock the goal-scoring that fans come to see, and people will check out (it happened last year, it can happen again).

The word many continue to bandy about is cohesion, something which our defense displayed in spades against Richmond, but still manages to evade us in the final third. Breno called out Derek Gebhard specifically as someone who can make a big difference to contributions in front of goal (as well as Streng). We’ve heard it’s anticipated Gebhard will travel with the team to Greenville this weekend, which if true will be a big boost for our chance creation and opportunities in front of goal. It’s also expected Christian Enriquez will travel, another player who’s delivered some solid performances thus far this campaign. If that all-important cohesion is to happen, these guys need time to play alongside each other in competitive situations, and there’s no opportunity like the present against a seemingly ever-strong Greenville side.

On a personal note, I’m home from the hospital after my CRT-D install, and beyond some soreness and swelling I’m feeling better now than before I went into the hospital. I have more enrgy, I’m more alert, and I’m sleeping better – all byproducts of my heart pumping enough oxygen out to the rest of my body. It’s crazy to me that a little disc in my chest now controls the lower and upper bounds of my heart rate, and will keep it more steady than most healthy people. Technology and medicine are wild af, and I’m hella thankful for it.

News Roundup

The league announced the Team of the Week on Monday, which featured both Mitch Osmond and Phil Breno, the latter of whom was named player of the week for his goalkeeping heroics in Richmond. Both well-deserved accolades, though I’d probably have included Eric Leonard in that list as well (he managed 12 clearances, over 1/4 of Madison’s total on the night). Well done to Mitch and Phil, it’s great to see some recognition for the work they put in every week.

The club also announced Monday that they’re partnering with the Dane County Department of Human Services to donate 8 tickets per home match, which will go directly to foster families in the Madison area. This is a wonderful idea, and a great show of support and recognition. Foster parents and families often sacrifice a lot of the usual trappings of the American Dream to invite young people into their homes and give them a chance at stability and a better life, and often don’t have expendable income to attend sporting events.

Program partner at DCDHS, Dawn Douglas-Mellom, had the following to say: “This is a wonderful opportunity for our foster families. It can be costly to attend events when you have foster children in your home in addition to your own children. This could mean a total of 8 children if the foster home meets requirements. Soccer is an activity that can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages, and is something that many children participate in.” Kudos to Dawn and all those involved in this new initiative.

Greenville Preview

Hi all, Kyle here with a preview of the Greenville game. The Triumph have been one of the top teams in USL1 the past three seasons, having finished twice as runners up and once as league champions. Forward Madison will be searching for their first win against them and this may be their best chance to do so. Greenville have struggled a bit with winning one of their first 5 games and drew their last game against Fuego the previous Saturday. Greenville has struggled with scoring goals, even more so than Madison, and only scoring three goals in the process which is lowest in the league. The Triumph only have a conversion rate of 7%, which is also bottom of the league. The attacking group of Jake Keegan, Allen Gavilanes, Venton Evans haven’t clicked and synced with their midfield consisting of Don Smart, Jesus Ibarra and Aaron Walker.

Despite that struggle, this is still a Greenville side that does have talent and it’s early enough in the season where we are likely asking when not if they turn things around. Normally the tactic for Greenville was to rely more on their defending and set pieces to win matches, but other than their second game against NCFC, Greenville has been the team with more possession and shots than their opponent. It will be interesting to see if Forward Madison will try and have the majority of their possession like they have shown most of the season, or if they try to hit Greenville on a counter and take advantage of any mistakes they make.

Right-o, it’s time to tackle our Friday so we can bunk off work a bit early to watch the match (well, Kyle anyway – I (Andrew) am still recovering from my robo-heart install). Enjoy your weekend and the (finally!) warm weather, it looks like it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous outside. Pat of my Sunday will be celebrating the life of my dad, Dennis, who loved golf, beer, and bullshitting with his friends – what better way to celebrate him than by enjoying all 3 (well, I’ll be riding along in the cart and drinking NA). Here’s to a hopeful 3 points in Greenville, and finally breaking the curse of the green bogeymen.


  • 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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