Forward Madison FC inched back into USL League One playoff position Saturday night thanks to a 1-1 draw with South Georgia Tormenta FC at Breese Stevens Field. The Flamingos got on the board first thanks to Paulo Júnior’s fifth goal of the season, but couldn’t take full points in front of a crowd of 4,215.
According to Head Coach Daryl Shore, his team had the momentum, but didn’t put the game away when it could have.
“We said playoff soccer is going to be difficult,” Shore said. “[The result] keeps us in fourth in the standings, [so we’ve] just got to keep plugging away.”
The Flamingos came into the game without Minnesota United loan players Carter Manley and Wyatt Omsberg, who were playing in the Loons’ exhibition match against Mexican team Pachuca. Without his regular starters available, Shore turned to Eric Leonard and Shaun Russell to fill in on the back line.
“We had to make a couple of changes, [and] I thought Shaun did a good job filling in at left back and then Eric did a great job filling in at center back,” Shore said. “I was really proud with the whole back line tonight and pleased with their performance.”
FMFC seemed quiet for much of the first half, but Paulo turned up the power in the 24th minute for the opening goal. The Flamingos needed only a few touches to find the back of the net, with J.C. Banks playing in a perfect one-time cross to the back post for Paulo to head home. Although the Brazilian fell to the ground in a heap afterwards, he arose a minute or so later to the sound of a rousing ovation.
The Tormenta looked to strike back quickly, but FMFC goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre came up with a diving save in the 30th minute to deny the visitors. At halftime, the ‘Mingos held onto a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, South Georgia was pinned back and struggled to keep possession, but Forward couldn’t come up with many big chances to extend its lead. Danny Tenorio put a curling shot on goal in the 74th minute, but it wasn’t too much trouble for South Georgia’s Pablo Jara to catch.
Eventually, the Tormenta’s effort led to an equalizer through Marco Micaletto in the 80th minute. Micaletto laid the ball off to Jad Arslan, who returned the ball to him before unleashing a powerful shot that goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre just couldn’t keep out. Sylvestre had seemingly pawed the ball of his line, but the referee judged that it had in fact crossed the threshold.
According to Shore, South Georgia simply took advantage of their opportunity.
“Credit to them, they came after the game and scored a goal,” Shore said. They kept pushing the game from their end [when] they were down a goal.”
Forward Madison will return to USL League One play next Saturday as it travels to Virginia to take on the Richmond Kickers on Sept. 14. The Flamingos are back at Breese Stevens Field next Tuesday, Sept. 17 for a special exhibition match against the Milwaukee Torrent.
“None of these games are going to be easy,” Shore said. “The last four games are going to be hard. We’ve just got to keep grinding and we’ve got to go back, watch video [and] get better.”
Forward Madison FC
Head Coach: Daryl Shore
Goalkeeper- Brian Sylvestre #92
Defender- Christian Diaz #27
Defender- Eric Leonard #3
Defender - Connor Tobin #13 (captain)
Defender- Shaun Russell #15
Midfielder - J.C. Banks #29
Midfielder -Louis Bennett #21
Midfielder - Josiel Nunez #70
Forward- Don Smart #7
Forward - Paulo Jr. #11 ⚽ (78’- Brian Bement #14)
Forward- Danny Tenorio #10 (80’- Oliver White #20)
G- Ryan Coulter #1
D- Carl Schneider #23
M- Vital Nizigiyimana #19
F- Oliver White #20
F- Zaire Bartley #17
F- Brian Bement #14
South Georgia Tormenta FC
Head Coach: John Miglarese
Goalkeeper: Pablo Jara #1 (3)
Defender: Connor Antley #3
Defender: Josh Phelps #5
Defender: Jordan Skelton #15
Defender: Dalton Knutson #13 (90+1’ Nick Wells #19)
Midfielder: Ricardo Gomez #6
Midfielder: Marco Micaletto #10 ⚽
Midfielder: Mikie Rowe #9 (56’ Shinya Kadono #24)
Midfielder: Charlie Dennis #11
Midfielder: Jad Arslan #21
Forward: Alex Morrell #14
GK- Matias Reynares #29
D- Michael Mecham #2
D- Jerry Saint-Vil
M- Nick Wells #19
M- Dalton Pando #7
M- Kobe Perez #25
F- Shinya Hadono #24
Forward Madison FC
24’- Paulo Jr. #11 (J.C. Banks #29)
South Georgia Tormenta FC
80’- Marco Micaletto #10 (Jad Arslan #21)
Breese Stevens Field - Madison, WI
Forward Madison FC’s inaugural season is here! The team will play its next home game on Sept. 17 vs the Milwaukee Torrent. Get tickets to see Forward Madison’s inaugural season at: https://www.forwardmadisonfc.com/tickets.