By Larry Snyder
Madison, Wis – The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (1-2-0) could not extend their American Ultimate Disc League match to overtime on Saturday, May 7, as their rally ended 18 to 16 against the Madison Radicals (1-0-0) at Breese Stevens Field.
Head Coach Max Barowski and his Pittsburgh flock had a 5-3 run in the fourth quarter. The Radicals collected their last goal at 2:42 in the final frame on a six-yard pass from Kevin Pettit-Scantling to Thomas Coolidge.
Taking the pull from Madison, the Black and Gold concluded an 18-play drive with a 12-yard scoring strike from Ian Engler to Connor Newell at 1:35 in the fourth. The gap was down to two points.
After the pull to Madison, the Tbirds’ Anson Reppermund provided a much-needed block to take the disc from the Radicals. Engler tried a 35-yard throw along the sideline past midfield that did not find a recipient. The Thunderbirds were still not ready to surrender the box score.
CJ Colicchio stripped the disc from Madison in the final seconds. The Steel City’s Sam VanDusen quickly hit Reppermund with a 19-yard pass. Looking to the end zone, the sixth-year defender could not hook up on a 58-yard huck to Max Sheppard because of Joshua Wilson’s block. The Radicals held on to reach a franchise milestone.
Since they first took the field in 2013, the Radicals’ one constant on the sideline is Tim DeByl as their head coach. The teal blue and chartreuse racked up 90 regular-season wins and ten playoff victories, and it is the first time an AUDL team claimed 100 overall triumphs.
Thunderbirds general manager Andrew Gardner commented to me, “The slow-start did us in, but I’m super proud of our guys. They went into a hostile environment and battled until the final whistle. That was the closest margin of defeat in Madison in our history, and we can take a lot of positives away from this trip and apply it to the rest of our season.”
Per The AUDL YouTube Channel – Pittsburgh Thunderbirds At Madison Radicals – Week 2 Game Highlights…
Madison Clipboard: Jacob Wham, Jake Rubin-Miller, and Sterling Knoche contributed three goals each to the score sheet. Victor Luo did his part in keeping the disc moving down the field with three assists, 34 completions, and 272 throwing yards. The Radicals made the most of their red-zone possessions, completing 76 percent to the Black and Gold’s 66 percent.
Pittsburgh Clipboard: The duo of Thomas Edmonds and Jimmy Towle kept the scoreboard operator busy with four goals apiece. Engler wrapped up the contest with 69 completions and 554 throwing yards, while Sheppard and Newell supplied three assists each. The completion percentage for both squads locked in at 92.
CHECK OUT: The Thunderbirds and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the United Soccer League will share Highmark Stadium the first weekend in June. The Tbirds have a rematch with the Madison Radicals Friday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m., while the Hounds take on Detroit City FC Saturday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m.
As part of the cross-promotion between the two organizations, fans can see a Thunderbirds intra-squad half-time exhibition Saturday, May 14, when the Hounds take on El Paso Locomotive FC at 7:00 p.m. Find your tickets here at the Hounds website.
NEXT UP: The Black and Gold arrive at JC Stone Field Saturday, May 21, against the Indianapolis AlleyCats (1-0-0). The first pull for the home opener is 6:00 p.m. EDT. You can get great seats to watch your favorite Tbird online here.