The Break Curve: Revisiting Richmond & Previewing Greenville

The Flamingos let a four-match win streak slip through the cracks off a bad touch and now must address how to counter Richmond’s new 3-5-2 formation to get shots on frame.

David Bulow, Richmond Kickers Head Coach, stood on Breese Stevens Field much longer than visiting technical staffs usually do after Saturday’s match ended. Bulow, a long-standing disciple of the 4-2-3-1, has been running a 3-5-2 formation for three weeks now. Bulow sent Head Coach Daryl Shore and his club, Forward Madison, off with a 1-0 loss at home as the Kickers extend their match win streak to three.

Mingo Mirage (Forward Madison, 8-8-4)

Perhaps it’s time for Shore to develop his own rendition of a Flying-V.

Three weeks ago, Bulow’s Kickers had lost 7 of 8 matches in the 4-2-3-1 formation. This trend leads me to believe that re-plotting the formation was long due after a series of other changes were made. The new 3-5-2 formation is not that far off in theory, but role assignment based upon a player’s placement on the pitch must make this shift timely for the Kickers. The new formation places much of its emphasis on the five midfielders.

The five men standing in the middle operated in part as a sift channel when Richmond is on defense. Forward Madison runs in a 4-3-3 or occasionally the 4-1-4-1 formation. So, you typically see Forward Madison’s forwards and midfielders release on attacks. This formation offers the Kickers the ability to close the perimeter surrounding the players that Forward Madison sends into their defense. So, it eliminates the free space to have consistent movement off the ball.

In previous weeks, Forward Madison has won the ball on turnovers made between the attacking and midfield lines and quickly sent numbers up into their opponent’s half. Their attacking strategy thrives on open space to execute transitions quickly and the ability to move about freely to create chances. In this match, these spaces were taken away. Forward Madison sent long passes up the pitch towards the end of the first half and the Kickers’ formation shift changed. This allowed Forward Madison to return to aspects of their game when enough separation existed to execute a cross pass and chances could also be created.

There were only 5 chances created in this match. We saw 11 shots and 0 were on frame.

The chances were created and not finished as seen on a Christian Diaz cross to Oliver White standing in front of the goal. Don Smart, along with Diaz, specialize in the cross pass for Forward Madison. In this match, Smart had 7 unsuccessful cross passes. That speaks volumes about what Richmond was able to pull off.

I don’t see many instances where the 3-5-2 helped Richmond on the attack. It seemed to trip them up more of the time. Of course, they could send many numbers up, but they were met by a 4-3-3 so by the time they entered the midfield line it was business as usual for Forward Madison.

On the day, the Kickers defeated Forward Madison 1-0 off a ball that goalkeeper Dylan St. Claire couldn’t trap with two Kickers in pursuit of it. Daniel Jackson cleans up the loose ball. Kickers finish with 4 shots and 2 were on frame. They had 44 percent of possession and lost in the aerial duel category.

Forward Madison FC have now dropped out of the USL League One playoff positions and down to sixth place.


Christian Diaz: Diaz is credited with 2 chances in the match. Both were cross passes that led to missed shot attempts on goal. He also won 3 balls in the air.

Connor Tobin: Tobin won 4 balls in the air. He created 1 chance.

Eric Leonard: Leonard won 5 balls in the air.

*Forward Madison won 64 percent of the Aerial Duels in this match. All three players contributed.

Mingo Lingo: Head Coach Daryl Shore

On the mistakes and what they can learn from this game:

“Well, I think we had a good start for the game, the first 15-20 minutes, when you have a start like that, you’ve got to create some chances and we got to put a couple goals in there.  You know they made it hard, they obviously play five in the back, they sat in, and they look to counter, so we need to be better at dealing with that.  But at the end of the day, they caught us on the counter in the first half, we were lucky they hit post, and then they caught us in the second half on the counter and punished us.  You know, just overall gotta be better from top down.”

On FMFC’s shot attempts:

“You can outshoot them all you want, but if they aren’t on frame, it doesn’t really matter.  So, it’s just one of those days where it wasn’t working for us and we can’t fault the commitment, we can’t fault work rate of our guys.  They fought to the end, and it just wasn’t our night.

Next Foe (Greenville Triumph, 8-6-5)

Greenville Triumph and Forward Madison battled to a 0-0 score line back in late April at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, WI. Greenville will host the second meeting between the two clubs at Legacy Early College in Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville is currently on a three-match win streak. Greenville defeated Toronto FC II 3-1 in their recent win. Forward Madison did not have Don Smart, Oliver White, or Louis Bennett on the roster during the previous meeting.

Greenville is 5-3-2 at home, Forward Madison is 3-5-2 on the road.

Greenville Stat Leaders: Jake Keegan (9 goals), Carlos Gomez (5 assists), Dallas Jaye (9 clean sheets)

Greenville is sitting in fifth in the table standings.

Next Flight

Saturday, 8/17, at 6 pm Central Time

Forward Madison at Greenville Triumph