Russell's NM Runners Rundown: Chapter 4

by Russell Gurule


The Runners have been on a journey these past two weeks far away from the friendly confines of the Rio Rancho Event Center. The Runners would face off against the two top teams in the Midwest division. First stop Amarillo, next stop Wichita! If I had to pick a theme song for this road trip, it would be a toss-up between Willie Nelson's “On the road again” or ACDC's “Highway to hell”. 

The Runners were running high into Amarillo with an undefeated record to face the Bombers. That high continued once the game started with a 6-1 lead after the first period. But then adversity reared it's ugly head. With a physicality unmatched at any time this season, the Bombers were able to pull ahead. 

The match seemed more like that other game called “football” than indoor soccer. Goal keeper Nate Yeager went down with injury and the hits kept coming. Goal keeper Hecter “Chuckie” Castaneda stepped in to stem the tide. With courage, Chuckie stopped a Bomber goal and suffered a kick to the head in the process. By the 3 rd period, Chuckie went down with injury. The Runners now faced the task of playing with no goal keeper for the rest of the match. Amarillo took advantage by dropping many bombs on goal for a 21-12 victory. 

But there was still hope, the Wichita Wings would be next on the schedule. With a short handed lineup and no goal keeper, the Runners were able to stay neck and neck with the Wings until the legs became tired. That's when history was made. Head Coach Steve Famiglietta stepped into a phone booth and came out onto the pitch to score a very improbable goal. At the age of 57, Head Coach Famiglietta became the oldest player to score a goal in Major Arena Soccer history. I have no excuses, right now I'm looking into a gym membership. 

The Wings however were able to take advantage of the Runners setbacks and acquire the victory. If there are lessons to be learned, we know that the Runners are a very resilient team and possibly one of the best in the Midwest division when at full strength. 

But this road trip was only a speed bump in the middle of the season. The Kansas Bandits come to the Rio Rancho Event Center on Feb 11th for a showdown in what is an interesting match-up. 

The Bandits in their inaugural season have already faced defeat to the Runners at the beginning of the season. Being new to the indoor game, the Bandits experienced simple mistakes because of the differences between the outdoor game and indoor game. Should we expect the Bandits to be more polished? Quite possibly, will the Runners be healed up in time for this match-up? We should expect a fun time and a competitive game. And yes, those questions will be answered come Saturday. 

I'll see you at that next match!

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