Match Preview: Resolve to Win

Here we are less than 24 hours to the last match of the regular season, and our dream of getting promoted is still alive. Before the start of the season many doubted we’d get here. Personally I lamented the fact that the longest away trip of the season (about 100 km / 60 miles) might be for a meaningless match. But here we are, traveling to Tervakoski for a Saturday 3 pm kick-off against Pato, and the stakes could not be much higher: a win or a draw takes us to a promotion playoff match against either FC Rauma or the second team of Musan Salama. That match would be played away, and the home team will be decided in matches that are played simultaneously with ours.

But we should not get ahead of ourselves. Despite their position just above the relegation zone, Pato is a good team full of young players who will want to show themselves. They have a decent 4-3-3 record at home, and some of the four teams that they have beaten are pretty good ones, NePa and VaKP in particular. Moreover, in July we played against Pato home at Pyynikki, and lost 3-4 (1-3) after an atrocious performance for the first sixty minutes. We have to do much better than that to win the upcoming match.

Every indication is that our team is highly motivated for this match. Last year in a similar situation that lead to a 1-7 (1-3) trashing of ViiPV, the team that ended up finishing second on the table. I wouldn’t necessarily expect a similar result this time, but I do expect the same resolve to win. Reports from the training field give promise that this will be the case. The fact that we have more than eighteen players available for this match is another good indication. Indeed, it seems that Timo Kauppinen is the only major absence from this match. From what I hear, his work situation still keeps him out, but he would be available for the possible promotion playoff match next weekend.

There will be some tough choices for the coaching duo. Firstly, it will be a tough blow for those who will not even make the starting lineup. Then, there will be several difficult decisions. For example, it is likely that only two of Jan Riikonen, Andrea Milanti, Petri Vadén, and Risto Niskanen will make the starting lineup. Similarly, there are at least five players available for the midfield trio. It will be interesting to see who will make the cut – and it is great to know that we will have a lot of quality available off the bench.

Tonight it rains, but tomorrow will be sunny. That is based on the weather forecast, but I do believe this will be true in the metaphorical sense too.