Another disappointing loss that has put the Madison Radicals in a territory where they have never been in the team’s history.
On May 27, the Radicals hosted their home opener at Breese Stevens Field against the Chicago Union that ended in a 20-18 gut-wrenching loss to put them at 0-3 for the first time ever. The scene was set for the perfect home opener, 75 degrees, sunny and nearly no wind.
“We practice better than we play, I think right now. I felt really good about where our offense was coming into this game,” said head coach Tim DeByl. “They just played a pretty simple zone against us a lot and we struggled against it. We're going to go back to the drawing board this weekend.”
The game started out with an Eric Blais pull that set-up a block for Luke Marks, and with a break chance on the opening point the Radicals cashed in. Luke Marks did it on both ends by scoring the goal from a Blais assist.
From there, the matchup was a game of runs. Chicago went on a three point run to go up 3-5 and then Madison put up the game within one and another Chicago break and an O-line score expanded the lead to 6-9. The end of the second quarter brought excitement for the fans at Breese, when in the last six minutes of the half, the Radicals took four of the five points to tie the game at 10.
The Radicals also had the momentum on their side when during that run, Henry Goldenberg put up an 82 yard huck to Anthony Gutowsky. The throw was impressive, but the catch made highlight reels when Gutowksy reached over two Union defenders to come down with the disc.
Then three points later, they built on the momentum when Andrew Meshnick came in during a timeout and intercepted the disc for a Callahan that brought the game within one. Another break the next point happened for Madison, and they were rolling going into half.
They weren’t able to cash in on the momentum from half when they dropped the first two points of the second half. From there, the runs continued. Madison put up two of their own after a gutsy Victor Luo block that ended up with him coming out on the play due to injury. Chicago put up three in a row once again and ended the third quarter with a 14-16 lead after some unawareness that led to a block on the goal line for Chicago that resulted in a last second push pass goal.
The fourth quarter provided some hope to those in attendance that were cheering on the Radicals when another score to rookie Alex Gravatt brought a tie at 17. However, a third three-point run by the Union put them up 20-17 and Madison was unable to scratch their way back.
Even with the loss, it was a gorgeous scene for the first game at the legendary Breese Stevens Field. Gravatt was taking it all in because it was the first time he had played at Madison’s home stadium.
“It was really exciting. I know a lot of people in the stands and there's a lot of really cool fans here. It's something I've been looking forward to since making the team and it was a really special experience,” said Gravatt. “I wish we could have done a little bit more at the end there but it was awesome.”
Madison has yet to put both ends of the disc together in a game and DeByl is well aware of that. This time it was the offense that had lacked under the lights, and will be the focus to get that first mark in the win column.
“Improving our offensive efficiency tonight from tonight and that was the main thing. D-line actually played really well, just the offense wasn't there,” said DeByl.
The Radicals remain at the bottom of the Central Division with the loss, while Chicago posts their first win on the season. Madison will look to exact some revenge when the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds come to Breese Stevens on Sunday June 4 for their second matchup of the year.