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

Madison vs Chattanooga: Slick Ending Rescues Madison

In this league, every point gained is vital and dropped points can have damaging consequences. After a trip to North Carolina to both Charlotte and Cary — playing to a turgid draw and a gut wrenching loss — I’m sure the team was happy to be at the happy confines of Breese Stevens field. I’m sure they were also ok with dealing with a light rain compared to the high humidity down in North Carolina. Madison was going to need to be alert to stop a Chattanooga attack which put five past Greenville the previous week. 

The game started quickly with Chattanooga trying to go directly to Madison’s goal but Cyrus Rad was able to thwart the early threat. Forward provided a quick reply with Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu was able to win the ball and provide a pass to Jeremiah Streng who tried to thread it over to Abdou Mbacke-Thiam but couldn’t quite get it past the Chattanooga defense. At the 10 minute mark, Eric Leonard continued his impressive defensive season with a key tackle to stop a clear cut chance for Chattanooga. Alvin Jones was called into action to clear the ball off the line after a corner kick slipped past Raiko.

Madison’s best chance of the half came in the 13th minute as a cross from the right fell to Streng who went with a more acrobatic finish and the shot went wide. Streng will likely look back and think he probably should have done better. Unfortunately a few minutes later Juan Galindrez scored his 9th goal of the season on an open net. Raiko and AWO had a miscommunication on handling the ball and got punished for it. Another chance for Forward came via a free kick which Mitch Osmond headed just wide. A couple of injuries and collisions ended the first half.

Raiko had a strong save in the 51st minute as both teams were unable to create much of anything until late in the second half. Madison had more possession but were struggling to find much as Chattanooga sat deeper and deeper. After Glaeser brought on Justin Sukow, Christian Dean, and Mele Temguia for Torres, Gebhard, and Mbacke-Thiam, Madison had a formation shift that saw Cyrus move to left wing-back and pushed Eric higher as they were chasing a goal. This change and the game reaching its closing moments brought more urgency and directness, Madison creating more half chances which included a Streng scissor kick attempt and Temguia miskick on the far post off a corner. 

Four minutes into stoppage time, Madison were pressing forward and Eric Leonard nearly equalized on a strong header from a Rad cross that was only thwarted by a good fingertip save from Avilez. Madison would get another chance a minute later as Madison played the ball out the back and Rojay Smith played a ball to Streng as he took it out wide and passed the Chattanooga defense to find Alvin Jones on the far post for him to tap in. That wouldn’t be the end of the action as Chattanooga pushed for a winner in the 97 minute and Galindrez thought he scored the winner, but in a rare moment of USL League one reffing, the crew showed competence and correctly ruled Galindrez was offside. 

What did we learn?

1. Derek Gebhard was causing problems for Chattanooga’s right side, his directness prompting Red Wolves’ defenders to hack him and slow him down. Madison will need to keep him in the starting lineup even when Mikey Maldonado comes back from his undeserved suspension. 

2. Madison was very thin on their attacking options for the third straight match with Nazeem Bartman out injured while Cassini was an unused sub on the bench. As mentioned in the last point, Gebhard still deserves his place in the 11 and benching one of Mbacke-Thiam/Streng if both Cassini and Bartman are not starting the route. With Gebhard and Smith as the wingers, it can allow Forward Madison to run a 3-4-3 formation and have them link with Mikey and Jones to create overlapping runs that would be difficult for other teams to defend.

3. Shoutout to Cyrus Rad who has made some vital interceptions and winning tackles in the second half to frustrate Chattanooga’s attack. I had questions about him early in the season but he has been the most improved player in the squad. He’s cut out the mistakes and has even shown an attacking threat from the wing back role and that might be an option for Coach Glaeser down the road. 

4. For the second time this season, Madison has scored a late equalizing goal against Chattanooga to extend their 8 match unbeaten run against the Red Wolves.

5. 4,106 fans attended the match which is a very good turnout considering events like the Great Taste of the Midwest happening earlier combined with the poor weather.

Author

  • Kyle Carr

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

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