Can Nacho get his first win in Madison?
Photo by Lexington Sporting Club
Lexington SC (7-9-13, 30 points) and interim head coach Nacho Novo look to get back into the win column and end their 5-match winless run on Saturday in Wisconsin as they take on the Flamingos of Forward Madison FC (11-9-9, 42 points) on Saturday at 6 pm EST/5 pm CST to round out the month of September. The match will be exciting as it will be the first for Lexington after officially being eliminated from the playoffs last week and will be a must-win for Madison as they sit in the final playoff spot in the table (6th) with only a 4-point cushion over Tormenta, who take on the struggling Kickers.
Madison returns home after a brief 1-match road trip with some attacking struggles, having gone 1-2-2 in their last 5, scoring only 3 goals in that span and being shutout 3 times (2 being 0-0 draws). That sole win was a 2-0 midweek win against Richmond (who currently are in the middle of a 13-match winless run). It is their only win in their last 8 matches, with their successive previous win being a 1-0 victory over the Redwolves on August 9th. It will be interesting to see which version of Madison comes to play in this matchup – the one that drew 0-0 against Lexington back in April? The one that came out and scored 3 goals in the 1st half and then squashed the comeback in June? Or the one that fell to Chattanooga 3-1 to start the month of September? Either way, Madison is still a playoff team that can do damage when needed and not be overlooked as they try to keep their hopes alive. They are one of the best counterattacking teams in the league, and stopping counterattacks has been a weak spot for Lexington as of late.
There may only be 3 matches left for Lexington, but the lads still go into every match with a purpose and drive to win. Now, I know I did not put out a recap of the last match, and in all honestly, that is because the match was an anomaly, considering both sides came out and put in performances that did not match what the previous matches showed. I overheard one Redwolves employee say, “I do not know what team is out there, because is sure has not been the one from this season,” and I think that sums up the match; like the GOAT of coaches Ted Lasso famously said, “Be a Goldfish.” I expect Coach Novo and the boys have done just that and that they are going to come into these final 3 matches with a chip on their shoulder to prove a point to not only the rest of the league or themselves but the fans of LSC that are boys never give up and never quit no matter what. If they can put in a full 90 performance, Lexington can beat Madison. I am most curious about the level the youth will play in the match. We saw Kimball Jackson put in his first full 90 in USL1, and he more than held his own; we saw the first appearance of Diallo Irakoze since the season opener, so I would be inquisitive to see how Coach Novo incorporates the youth into the match.
Players to Watch
Forward Madison FC
Jayden Onen – Onen is the Flamingo’s best playmaker and was one of the few bright spots in Madison’s 0-2 defeat at Charlotte. Sitting just 2 assists behind Robertson in the league charts, Onen will be looking to climb the leaderboard in the one.
Kimball Jackon – the Lafayette product has been getting more minutes in the last 5 matches and has made the most of it. Showing off his versatility by playing up in the attacking and locking it down on the backline, Jackson could be solidifying himself alongside Gonzalez as the future of the Lexington backline. Can he continue his upward climb against Madison?
Check back later this week for our match recap, and stick to Bluegrass Soccer Cast (@BGSoccerCast on all social media platforms) for full coverage of Lexington SC, and everything soccer in our beautiful Commonwealth.