Taking Vicenza By Storm

The weather was very hot at kickoff, and Milan conceded a goal from Serie B side Vicenza within just 20 seconds. But Milan's response was thunderous, pouring down six goals on the home team before the weather also came down in torrents on everyone. Perhaps it was just the heavens weeping tears of joy for De Ketelaere's unofficial Milan debut, which was every bit as sublime as anticipated. Or maybe it was tears of sorrow for the two injuries sustained to Tonali and Messias just one week before Serie A kicks off. Either way, between Milan's goal deluge and the actual torrential rain, this one was taking Vicenza by storm.

Leão making it rain with a goal and an assist

There was a very solemn and respectful minute's silence ahead of the match. You may not have noticed, but Milan were wearing black armbands. They were in honor of Villiam Vecchi, former Milan goalkeeper and goalkeeping coach, who passed away this week. The new kits actually camouflaged them completely, which is sad, or maybe we will just always be in mourning. 

Honoring Villiam Vecchi

Milan were in for a very rude awakening when Rolfini scored a goal within 20 seconds of kickoff. Perhaps it was planned, a way to encourage Vicenza to let their 1.93m (6'4") 18 year-old striker, Tommaso Mancini, sign for Milan. Reports are that the two clubs have been in talks for a deal for the young player. Whatever the case, the goal certainly stunned Milan and encouraged Vicenza. But not for long.

Leão evened things up in just the 11th minute after a couple of Milan chances, with a Rebić assist. 1-1 all. Brahim Díaz tried a shot from distance, but it went over, and then Rebić's shot also went over. Cataldi was shown a yellow for a foul on Brahim Díaz, the first of three yellows for Vicenza, and an omen of the injuries to come for Milan. 

Maybe Messias called the storm?

In the 18th minute, Tonali was whistled for offside when he only would have had to cross it over to Rebić for an easy tap-in, but he wasn't actually offside. Unfortunately, there was no VAR to help the ref out. But Messias would avenge for the call in the 21st by scoring from a Leão assist. 2-1 Milan. Brzan, Vicenza's keeper, was called into action a couple of times, and there was more rough play from the visitors.

Theo Hernández has been terrorizing oppositions in the preseason

In the 30th, Rebić got himself on the scoresheet thanks to the brilliant Theo Hernández, 3-1 Milan. And just  one minute later, Theo Hernández would set up another one, this time for Messias, although Dal Monte actually got the final touch on it, so it was given as an own goal. 4-1 Milan. Maignan would make an actual save on Ferrari, and Theo Hernández took a couple of big knocks, the latter of which actually saw him receive treatment and leave the pitch just before halftime.

Tomori was happy to get back to scoring ways

Theo Hernández was up and running again for the second half, though, but then it was Tonali's turn. He pulled up with some kind of groin injury in the 50th minute, and walked straight off the pitch, not even waiting for his substitute, Krunić. That is very worrying, and while we have to wait for tests, early predictions say he could be out for as long as a month. In the meantime, Tomori scored a header from a Bennacer corner to make the scoreline 5-1 Milan.

Not even ten minutes later, Messias twisted his ankle, and Saelemaekers replaced him. Such a shame, as Messias has been on fire scoring and offering assists in the preseason. His early diagnosis was an ankle contusion, which could be as simple as some bruising and swelling, or something more serious. Again, we will have to wait for tests to know.

Rebić was storming into the box relentlessly

Bennacer sent in a free kick that was saved in the 68th minute, and then Rebić, taking a pass from Brahim Díaz, scored again to make it 6-1 Milan.  That made two goals and an assist for the Croatian, who has also been on fire in the preseason. Perhaps Ibrahimović transferred his badass powers over to him while he is out injured, or maybe Rebić just remembered he already had them, but I love a Rebić that gets on the scoresheet and is rewarded for all of his hard work.

The moment every rumor-tormented soul had been waiting for arrived exactly in the 75th minute, as predicted, when De Ketelaere came on as trequartista to replace Brahim Díaz. We were not disappointed, either. He is everything we were promised, incredibly intelligent, remarkably fluid and seemingly effortless in the way he moves. 

De Ketelaere is magical to watch

He actually had a couple of opportunities, with the best chance coming in the 78th, where after a scuffle and an obvious handball on the ground that was not called, he turned and shot, only to see it hit the side netting. But it is very clear that he is a very special young talent, and that it will be exciting to watch him develop at Milan.

A storm of biblical proportions was unleashed on the stadium, actually causing the signal to be interrupted and fans to miss out on the last few minutes of the match. But the images of drenched players tell the story, and the score remained the same, although there was one final yellow card awarded to Vicenza in stoppage time.

The scoreboard was barely visible at the final whistle

The result was positive, a fourth win out of five friendlies for the reigning Italian Champions heading into the Serie A season. But the two injuries were devastating, and also psychologically re-traumatizing for fans after so many injuries the past two seasons. This team has been winning primarily on grinta, when age, experience, and talent were inferior to other squads. Last year, it was not enough for the Champions League. 

Pioli has reason to be concerned... will belief be enough to improve again this year?

This summer, we have not really reinforced enough to provide the depth needed to compete any further. While signing a talent like De Ketelaere is a magical rainbow after the injury clouds that seem to follow us around incessantly, even with a big win, it felt like the injury storms were returning again. Maybe even preparing to take Milan by storm.

This post inspired by the music of Jane Siberry's "It Can't Rain All the Time"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 1
Milan vs. Udinese
Saturday, August 13 • 18:30 CEST (12:30pm EDT)

Taking Vicenza By Storm Taking Vicenza By Storm Reviewed by Elaine on 11:55 PM Rating: 5
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