Is it some kind of rookie hazing for new teams in Major Indoor Soccer League? I don't know, but the Chicago Riot start off a brutal 1,000+ mile long road-trip that will take them to Omaha, Milwaukee, and back to Chicago. The kicker? It's all in three days. Omaha tonight, Milwaukee tomorrow night, and Chicago on Sunday. If the team didn't know each other before, they certainly will on Monday.
As if the road trip wasn't enough, the Riot found out this week that Jagiellonia Bialystok has denied Krzysztof Krol's request to play for the Chicago club. In a statement earlier this week, Peter Wilt said:
We are sorry that Krzysztof will not be able to play in any games for the Riot, but we appreciate his desire to represent us.
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Major credit goes to Peter Wilt for even getting it to the point where Krol would have played for the team at all. It was thinking outside of the box and even if Krol would have been available for selection only this weekend it would have helped the team spread out minutes among the players in this brutal stretch while keeping top talent on the floor. I give credit to Wilt for making it happen and for Krol's desire to represent Chicago in grand style but you can't say that Jagiellonia Bialystok's decision doesn't make sense.
Instead of dwelling on what could have been, head coach Jeff Kraft will lead the team into Omaha tonight as the Riot face an early as possible 'must-win situation'. The Omaha Vipers are 1-3 while the Chicago Riot are 0-2. It's true that there are 20 games in the season and anything can happen but if Chicago loses tonight, they are down to 0-3. They go to play 4-0 Milwaukee at Milwaukee Saturday, and they'll be depleted on Sunday vs. a currently 1-3 Missouri team. Lose all three games this weekend and 25% of the season is done with a minimum of being two games behind every other team in the league. Win tonight and it's 1-2 Chicago, 1-4 Vipers. Win Sunday and it is at least 1-4 Chicago and at best 2-4 Missouri Comets (Missouri are currently 1-3 but play 2-0 Baltimore Blast on Saturday night). Those odds are much better than any scenario with the Riot going 0-5.
Krol will not be playing this week but new Riot forward Anthony Maher will. The New Jersey born Maher is a veteran of the Major Indoor Soccer League and will look to put the team over the scoring threshold of 7 as the Riot have lost 10-6 and 10-7 in the first two games.
Rounding up Riot news for the week:
Chicago Sting legend Rudy Glenn forms broadcasting team with Andy Lippert
Chicago Riot partners with Illinois Youth Soccer Association
Globe Pub and the Riot partner up for bus/caravan to Milwaukee for Saturday's game