There are a lot of question marks surrounding the Triumph’s match scheduled for Friday night in Wisconsin. And while we are always #TeamNoMingo here at GVLSoccer.com, our first concern in this unique season is the health and wellbeing of the players, staff, and fans involved in this league.
I must admit that it is hard to preview this match knowing what we know, and what is rumored, regarding the various elements involved, but I will do my best. Let’s dive in.
What to Watch For:
- Will the match happen?: Tuesday morning brought a grim rumor surround the league as a whole, and the Greenville Triumph in particular. As reported by Nipun Chopra of SocTakes, the Triumph are rumored to have had 3–4 positve COVID-19 tests from players involved in last’s week’s 3–2 victory over Richmond. It was also reported in the same tweet (see below) that there were positive tests from North Texas SC, who were Madison’s opponents last weekend. That raises the question of if this match will ultimately take place with both teams having been exposed to the virus less than a week prior to the match.
- Fans in the stands: Forward are prepared to have fans in the stands for their home opener. At this point in 2020, most of us have gotten used to the sound or empty stadiums or prerecorded crowd noise. But seeing and hearing fans live in stadium will likely be jarring. Especially as the country continues to see high numbers of COVID cases everywhere.
- Undefeated: The Triumph have never lost to Forward Madison. In their three meetings last season, the two teams played to two draws and one Triumph victory. Will the hot streak against the Flamingos continue into 2020?
Highlights from our opponents’s last match:
Key Players for Forward Madison FC:
- Connor Tobin — #13 — defender: Tobin is the heart and soul of Madison’s back line and serves as the team’s captain. The veteran defender will look to slow down the Triumph’s newfound potent scoring.
- Don Smart — #7 — forward: In 2019, Don Smart led Madsion in goals (8), assists (5), and crosses (89). He was a key cog in the attack and will likely play the same role in 2020.
- J.C. Banks — #10 — midfielder: Banks had five goals in 2019 and returns as a key piece of Madison’s midfield.
The CASHINHO “Take It To The Bank” Prediction:
Last week Madison struggled against North Texas’s offense and only managed to have less than 30% of the possession. They struggled to pass the ball and had a surprising 0% crossing accuracy. Brandon Fricke will not be available for Greenville due to the red card he received in last week’s match. I think this will cause Greenville to keep their back line at home more than they have in the first two matches.
My initial thought was that this would be a 2–1 Greenville victory. But there are so many question marks. If Greenville truly had positive tests this week, how many were there? And who were they? Depending on what pieces are potentially missing for the team, this match could go from a big win to a big loss. With all the questions, I’m just going to go with a draw here because (shrug emoji).
UPDATE (7/30): According to our good friend @HomeSweetSoccer, the positive COVID tests have reportedly turned negative on the retest. Because of that, I’m going to change my original 1–1 prediction.
Forward Madison FC: 1— Greenville Triumph SC: 2
The match will take place at Hart Park in Wauwatosa, WI at 8:00pm EST on Friday July 31, 2020. The game will be available on ESPN+ in the US and YouTube internationally.