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Forward Madison seeks players to "step up" in Orlando as Hlavaty takes charge

By Forward Madison FC, 06/06/19, 2:45PM CDT

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Flamingos’ assistant coach will lead FMFC in Friday night clash in Florida

USL League One - Game 10
Forward Madison FC at Orlando City B
Friday, June 7, 2019; 6:30 p.m. CT
Montverde Academy - Montverde, FL

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Forward Madison FC will travel down to Florida on Friday night, hoping to start its climb up the USL League One table as it faces off with Orlando City B (6:30 p.m. CT; ESPN+). The Flamingos are in need of points, as they have dropped their last three league matches and currently sit in last place, albeit just five points out of the playoff positions.

With Head Coach Daryl Shore suspended for the game due to a sending-off he received for protesting officiating decisions during FMFC’s 1-0 loss to Lansing last Saturday, Assistant Coach Neil Hlavaty will take the reigns for the first time, with former UW-Madison coach Jim Laudner serving as his assistant. According to Shore, he could always tell Hlavaty would be a good manager from his time as a player.

“He’s coached in [USL League Two] as an assistant coach before and he’s done a great job with me,” Shore said. “He’s more than capable of taking our group and hopefully getting us three points.”

Last time FMFC visited Orlando (on April 19), the Flamingos flew away with the first victory in club history. After falling behind to an early penalty kick, Josiel Núñez scored the first Forward Madison goal ever to equalize before Shaun Russell gave FMFC the winner by knocking home a rebound.

This time, though, the task could be more difficult. Both Núñez and Shore are suspended due to dismissals in Forward Madison’s previous match. The Flamingos’ Minnesota United loan players (excepting Ally Hamis Ng’Anzi) are absent again, returning to the Loons to fill in for national team call-ups. And with the ‘Mingos on a losing streak, the pressure to turn it around is building.

“Somebody’s going to have to step in and help create goals for us,” Shore said. “[Núñez] is a guy who we try and get on the ball quite a bit. Without having him, guys like Jeff Michaud right now have to step up quite a bit.”

Orlando City B, meanwhile, is on a hot streak, having picked up seven points in its last three games. Midfielder Koby Osei-Wusu, who scored the penalty against FMFC in April, leads Orlando with three goals, including an equalizer against FC Tucson in OCB’s 2-2 draw last week. The Young Lions will play without defenders Jahlane Forbes and Wilfred Williams, both of whom have missed most of the season with injuries.

Following its game in Orlando, the Flamingos will return to Madison for three games in 10 days at Breese Stevens Field. FMFC will take on FC Tucson in League One action on Saturday, June 15; look for revenge against North Texas SC on Saturday, June 22; and host Minnesota United in a special exhibition on Wednesday, June 25.

“We don’t think we’re a last-place team, but the truth is, right now we are in last place, “ Shore said. “If we don’t start making a move in these next couple games then we’re going to find ourselves in trouble.

Forward Madison FC’s inaugural season is here! The team will play its next home game on June 15 vs FC Tucson. Get tickets to see Forward Madison’s inaugural season at: https://www.forwardmadisonfc.com/tickets.

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