Raphaël Rodriguez wants to cross an additional barrier with ES Thaon

Before Biesheim – Thaon

Saturday (5 p.m.)

At the other end of the line, the tone is set. As if there was a quiet force emanating from Raphaël Rodriguez’s voice. But when it comes to distilling a decisive parade or going to meet an attacker, the last bulwark also knows how to turn into a formidable competitor. Despite fierce competition with the successive presences on his post of Brice Morin, Alexandre Nagor, Stephen Milosavjevic and now Antonin Parisot, the one who has been defending the Thai cage for 2014 years has accepted this situation by first thinking of the collective cause: « We must manage to live with that. We know before that there can be changes. It doesn’t change much for me. I give my all when I play and if not I am there to help and I stand ready. « 

However, the novelty is that it no longer has to infuse many kilometers to come and train. For the past three years, a professional rapprochement with Thaon has made life much easier for him. Lately, it is inevitably punctuated by the Coupe de France. And even more at the dawn of an 8th round then giving access to a possible confrontation with a Ligue 1 club.

« With solidarity, we manage to have results »

A kind of glass ceiling that ES Thaon and Raphaël Rodriguez failed to break in 2018 and again in 2019. Two memories indelibly inscribed in his memory.

In 2018, he was on the soaked lawn of Robert-Sayer when ES Thaon had strongly heckled the pros of Valenciennes FC (Ligue 2): “It was an incredible match. We were down 3-0 before equalizing and then cracking in overtime. We could be proud but there was also disappointment. We had touched very closely the 32nd. « 

Then, a year later, Romain Chouleur’s men had to surrender on penalties against a solid formation from Saint-Pierroise, which did not have much of an R1, and whose adventure stopped in the round of 16 in Épinal.

This time, Raphaël Rodriguez had been consigned to the role of understudy, while appreciating the virtues of this stay in Reunion: “Apart from the sporting side, it was a magnificent adventure. It was a great experience. It was very enriching in terms of cohesion and group life. It was felt afterwards. With solidarity, we manage to have results. It is an essential strength and the club builds on it. « 

If until then, Wilfried Röther’s partners have managed to avoid the pitfalls that confrontations outside against hierarchically inferior opponents, Saturday, in Biesheim, the Alsatian obstacle will be sizeable: « We have them played in the league two months ago and we lost 2-1. We expect a very close and fiercely contested game again. They have enormous offensive capabilities. But we have our card to play outside. We managed to do it in Schiltigheim two years ago. There should be at least two fan buses. I hope this will transcend us. « 

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This role of supporter is the one that could fall to Raphaël Rodriguez by virtue of the alternation which is often cutting for goalkeepers: “There was a rule established at the start of the season, but Antonin s’ is injured before Vandoeuvre. So, I played as well as the following ones at Neuves-Maisons and Morhange. We don’t know what the coach is going to do. The decision is up to him, but that doesn’t change anything for me. If I don’t play, I’d be all for helping the buddies through. « 

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