USL League One - Game 25
Forward Madison FC at Richmond Kickers
Saturday, September 14, 2019; 7:00 p.m. CT
Breese Stevens Field - Madison, WI
Forward Madison FC will travel to Virginia to take on the Richmond Kickers with playoff position on the line this Saturday (6 p.m. CT; ESPN+). The Flamingos are in fourth place in USL League One with four matches to play, but need to step up their form to remain in the final playoff spot.
With upwards of 50 Forward fans expected in Richmond as part of the team’s Irruption Tour, Madison’s team will be able to count on plenty of support as it confronts a Kickers team that has been among the league’s strongest as of late. According to Head Coach Daryl Shore, his team has to prepare itself for a battle.
“We’re playing well, we’ve just got to now capitalize on taking our chances,” Shore said. “This is going down to the very end. This is going to go down to the last game of the season.”
FMFC temporarily slipped out of its playoff spot last week, but clambered back into fourth with a 1-1 draw against South Georgia Tormenta FC. While the Flamingos failed to take full points, results in other games mean they are still very much in the mix going into Saturday’s match.
Forward has relied on its defense as of late; the team has only given up four goals in its past eight matches. On the other hand, the offense, which had been firing on all cylinders several months ago, has slowed to a halt; three goals in the past five games hasn’t been enough to push the ‘Mingos into a more secure spot.
According to Shore, though, FMFC can’t be concerned with whether its points are pretty or not at this stage of the season.
“It’s going to be a hard game,” Shore said. “The focus is on going there and getting three points. If we do that, we know, at the end of the day, we’ll still at least be tied for fourth, if not in a better spot.”
The Richmond game also represents a special occasion for several Flamingos who used to play for the Kickers. Midfielder Brandon Eaton, Assistant Coach Neil Hlavaty and defender Shaun Russell all played for Richmond last season, and might hope to show their ex-team what they’ve picked up on in the past year. Eaton in particular has been out of action since sustaining a knee injury on June 1, but has integrated back into training sessions and is a candidate to travel to Virginia.
The Richmond Kickers, meanwhile, come into the match playing some of their best soccer of the year. Although they were slow to get off the mark in League One, the Kickers have stormed back into the playoff race by winning five of their last eight games.
Richmond has been led by the performances of star striker Joe Gallardo, who has scored six goals this season. The Kickers have gone three straight unbeaten at home, but lost 4-0 away to league leaders North Texas SC on Tuesday.
Up next, the Flamingos will return home to take on the Milwaukee Torrent in a special exhibition match on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Next week’s match will be Forward Madison’s second-to-last game at Breese Stevens Field in 2019 before it completes its home schedule against North Texas SC on Sept. 22.
“We can go on the road and win,” Shore said. We know we have the capability to do that. Now it’s just a matter of having the right mindset, dealing with adversity as best as we can and getting in, having a good week of training and being ready for that game.”
Forward Madison FC’s inaugural season is here! The team will play its next home game on Sept. 17 vs Milwaukee Torrent. Get tickets to see Forward Madison’s inaugural season at: https://www.forwardmadisonfc.com/tickets.