Forward Madison FC opened up its third USL League One season with a 1-1 draw Saturday night, sharing the honors with FC Tucson on the road. Jake Keegan scored his first goal for the Flamingos late on to bring the point back to FMFC.
Saturday’s result marked new head coach Carl Craig’s first match in charge of Forward Madison, as well as his first point. Although he didn’t win, Craig can take solace in the fact that this is the first time the Flamingos have taken at least a point from their season opener.
The game started off fairly evenly, but midfield mainstay Eric Leonard - who is entering his third year with the Flamingos - was forced off through injury in the 38th minute. Leonard’s absence made room for Aaron Molloy, one of the team’s key signings of the offseason, to make his FMFC debut.
Deri Corfe opened the scoring for FC Tucson in the 51st minute, capitalizing on a mistake by the Flamingos’ defense to carve out a chance and slot home.
New signing Jake Keegan equalized for Forward Madison in the 67th minute, however, taking a smart pass from Audi Jepson into the penalty area and zipping a shot on the ground into the far-side netting. Keegan scored 14 goals across the past two seasons with Greenville Triumph SC, and didn’t take long to open his account for the Flamingos.
The draw means Forward Madison sit ninth in the USL League One table after one game, although most other teams have already played multiple times due to the league’s staggered start in 2021.
Following Saturday’s game, Forward Madison will return to Wisconsin for its much-anticipated home opener on Saturday, May 15 at 7 p.m. against North Carolina FC. The Flamingos have not played a USL League One match at Breese Stevens Field since Sept. 22, 2019.
FC Tucson: Wallis Lapsley; Max Schenfeld, Samuel Biek, Dakota Barnathan, Noah Franke; Jared Odenbeck, Charlie Dennis (Daniel Bedoya 74’), Manuel Ferriol (Joao Delgado 86’); Shak Adams, Deri Corfe (Kevin Rodriguez 86’), Giovanni Calixtro (Franco Perez 74’)
Unused Substitutes: Kaelon Fox, Ryan Shellow, Jordan Pena
Forward Madison FC: Phil Breno; Jiro Barriga Toyama, Connor Tobin, Gustavo Fernandes, Ronaldo Lomeli (Christian Diaz 77’); Eric Leonard (Aaron Molloy 38’), Audi Jepson, Michael Vang (Justin Sukow 72’); Derek Gebhard, Tyler Allen (Noah Fuson 71’), Jake Keegan
Unused Substitutes: Aidan Hogan, Heath Martin
51’ - Deri Corfe
67’ - Jake Keegan
17’ - Noah Franke (yellow)
45+1’ - Charlie Dennis (yellow)
82’ - Manuel Ferriol (yellow)
20’ - Gustavo Fernandes (yellow)
28’ - Jiro Barriga Toyama (yellow)
81’ - Aaron Molloy (yellow)
KINO North Stadium - Tucson, Arizona