Wave Welcome Rochester Lancers to UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena Saturday Night
The Milwaukee Wave are currently 7-3 as they take on the Rochester Lancers and are in the thick of a crowded Eastern Division in the midst of a three-way tie for second place with the Utica City FC and the Harrisburg Heat. The Wave also enter Saturday nights matchup with the Lancers a full two games back from the Eastern Division leader the Florida Tropics as we approach the halfway point of the season.
The Wave look to continue the momentum from their 8-7 home overtime win against the Kansas City Comets on Monday, due in no small part to a 4 point game (2 goals, 2 assists) by Major Arena Soccer League Player of the Week, Alex Bradley.
Milwaukee currently hold a 5-1 record on the road, but have just 2-2 record at home this season, although both of said home losses came in overtime.
Wave Coach Giuliano Oliviero says that with the standings being what they are now, including two other teams "nipping at our heels in the standings, every game is a playoff game for us and we have to treat them as such while putting on a good show for our fans."
Rochester meanwhile is merely looking to get in the win column, as they sit with a 0-9 record (the only winless team in the MASL) and a ghastly minus 70 goal differential, with just 24 goals scored all season. The Lancers haven't scored more than 5 goals in a single game all season. Coach Oliviero said that opponent's record changes very little in regards to overall preparation, stating "I give Rochester a lot of credit, they get better every week and it's only a matter of time before they upset someone."
Wave Captain Ian Bennett isn't sleeping on the Lancers either, but also said that "we haven't played our best at home and we need to play better and get a convincing win for our fans." This is the first and only matchup with the Rochester Lancers this season for the Wave.
The Wave been attempting to make do with a mishmash of parts, with injuries and some illness leaving the team at less than full strength. A perfect example of this is starting goalie Rafa Dias, who took several shots to the head while saving goals on Monday's game against Kansas City. Rafa finished the first half, but also suffered a bloody nose and was entered into concussion protocol.
Coach Oliviero spoke on Rafa's potential to start on Saturday saying that "he (Rafa) is in protocol, he took a ball to the head and feels 100% right now, but we going to follow the advice of our medical staff and do what's best for his health, even if it means sitting him Saturday." If Rafa does sit, it would put the Wisconsin Lutheran College alum Matt Eisold in front of the net. In his fourth season with the Wave, Eisold saw his most significant action of the season and arguably of his career on Monday, but Coach Oliviero gave Eisold a full vote of confidence and props for standing up when called up.
Such a theme of unknown or at least unsung heroes rising up to occasion has been common for the Wave recently. Coach Oliviero pointed to defensemen Matthew Yang as one of the new contributors who stood out, especially in the win against Kansas City. "Yang really stepped up and covered a lot of the field, while bringing a great level of intensity," said Coach Oliviero. Yang himself said that in his third year with Wave that he relishing the opportunity given to him, "I bring a high pressure style of play to the midfield, even though they have me listed as a defensemen, I have been bringing that press to the midfield to give the rest of the guys a little bit of energy."
Mikey Herrera was another name on Coach's mind when came to thinking of other new players to make impact, with Herrera not only scoring the opening goal in Monday's game and the first of his career, but he also became the youngest player in Wave history to score a goal. Bennett also has high praise for his teammates, stating that "Alex Bradley has been huge for us both with goals and creating assists, Mario (Alvarez) has been a great acquisition for us even though he is currently hurt, and Derek Huffman is great to have on the team, because even though I hated playing against him, there is no denying how good and talented he is."
The Wave take on the Rochester Lancers on Saturday January 25 at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, with a 6:07 pm kickoff. Join us and the ZOOperstars! The ZOOperstars! are hilarious inflatable characters that resemble sports figures, such as Clammy Sosa, Cow Ripken, and Ken Giraffey, Jr.
For tickets and more information visit MilwaukeeWave.com.
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Major Arena Soccer League Stories from January 24, 2020
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- Wall of Fame Inductee: Kari Miller - Rochester Lancers
- Tropics Will Welcome St. Louis to Lakeland for Saturday Star Wars Showdown - Florida Tropics SC
- Wave Welcome Rochester Lancers to UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena Saturday Night - Milwaukee Wave
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